Medical Definition of Posterior urethral valves

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

Posterior urethral valves: small pieces of tissue in the male urethra that prevent the normal flow or urine out of the body. Posterior urethral valves are the most common cause of urinary outflow obstruction in male children and occur once in about 8,000 births. Symptoms depend upon the degree of obstruction. In most cases the diagnosis can be made before birth, when swelling and enlargement of the urinary tract are seen on ultrasound. Milder cases may not become apparent until later in life. Symptoms can include urinary tract infection, enlarged bladder, weak urine stream, difficulty or pain with urination, bedwetting after toilet training has occurred, poor weight gain, and urinating frequently. Treatment involves surgically removing the obstructing tissue using a specialized endoscopic instrument that is inserted into the urethra.

Reviewed on 12/21/2018

REFERENCE: Longo, D.L., et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 18th ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2012.

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