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Last year, after two surgeries to remove kidney stones and several trips to the emergency room unable to urinate, I was told that I needed to self-catheterize daily in order to keep my urethra open likely due to scarring from proton beam therapy for prostate cancer six years prior. I was an active 63 year-old who had, just over a year ago, been an ultramarathon runner and in very good health. I was diagnosed with a bladder neck contraction which my urologist told me limited my options to continue the self-catheterizing or a surgery called the Monti procedure which is a surgical procedure in which a part of the gastrointestinal tract is used to create a continent conduit between the skin surface and the urinary bladder. The Monti would require catheterizing each time I had to urinate between the new surgical suprapubic hole and the bladder. Either choice would mean a major lifestyle change and significant medical problems for the remainder of my life. I began an internet search, and happened upon some very convincing anecdotal success stories with patients who had similar difficulties to my own. I then read everything I could about Dr. Joel Gelman and the Center for Reconstructive Urology at UC Irvine. Realizing that there might be some hope for a different outcome than what I had been presented, I called Dr. Gelman and told him my diagnosis and my medical history. He told me that the only way he could say if he could help me was to take a better look at my urethra and bladder neck using a more precise way of observing the obstructed area. Dr. Gelman was very firm in stating that he felt the catheterizing was doing harm to my urethra and suggested that I refrain from that practice. I then made the trip from the Midwest to California last November for this second opinion. The procedure to get a better picture of my obstruction was not painful in any way and after Dr. Gelman had filled my bladder with a liquid dye, x-rays were taken as I urinated. Dr. Gelman met with me and we viewed the x-rays as he pointed out that my bladder neck was not obstructed. My obstruction was distal to the bladder neck, and Dr. Gelman believed he could surgically remove the obstruction. A supra-pubic tube was surgically implanted to allow my urethra to rest and heal. The urethra was bypassed and all urine went directly to a leg bag via the supra-pubic tube. I was told to come back to California after I had gone three months without catheterizing in order to give my urethra a chance to heal from the damage I had done to it from self-catheterizing. I returned to California in February for my surgery. The surgery and recovery was not painful. My wife and I stayed in California for the three weeks of recovery, one in the hospital and two more in a rental. When we returned to have the suprapubic tube removed, Dr. Gelman did another x-ray with dye to see the change since the surgery. It was the first time I had urinated through my penis in four months. It was incredible how easily the urine flowed. The x-rays showed that the obstruction was no longer there. I am now more than seven months since my surgery and I have had no problems urinating at all during that entire time. I had one final visit with Dr. Gelman this summer (4 Â½ months post-surgery) and everything looked good. I am deeply grateful for the work done by Dr. Gelman. Dr. Gelman took a personal interest in me and was very responsive, calling me at home to ask how I was doing. I believe he is a skilled surgeon and an equally good person. I knew going into this procedure that there were no guarantees that it would be successful. I felt so blessed to be given the option of what might be a time without medical devices and what could possibly be a life without a series of steps to go through just to urinate. There is no guarantee that my good fortune will continue. Still, every time I urinate without difficulty and I do mean every time, I feel appreciation for what has been done for me. I am now an active 64 year-old who is again running 7 miles a day. I am also peeing like a race horse. Every patient is different. If you have a problem with urine flow, it may be well worth your while to allow Dr. Gelman to run a test to see if your problem may be helped by his surgical procedures. Many of his patients have a much better prognosis than I had. Not all patients will have a similar result to mine. As they say in the auto ads, âyour mileage may varyâ. That said, I am one very satisfied patient who is very thankful to Dr. Gelman for my new lease on life.
First off I am afraid of any kind of surgical procedure and not a fan of hospitals. My experience with Dr Gelman, Denise, and his staff was the best I've ever had. I had a surgery when I was a young kid and it created a stricture within my urethra making it difficult to urinate. Due to my fear of a 2nd surgery I worked around the issue for over 25 years. I finally found Dr Gelman and he is the reason that I chose to go through 2 additional surgeries to correct the problem. These surgeries exceeded my expectation and changed my life for the better. The reason Dr Gelman is amazing is the quality of his work, care, and attention to detail. For me that was the most important. However in addition, Dr Gelman and his staff surprisingly made the entire experience "pain free". My expectation of reconstructive surgery and memories of my first surgery as a child was that pain would be involved. Dr Gelman's staff is incredible starting with Denise. Throughout all of my appointments, Dr Gelman and his staff were always on time and thorough. Dr Gelman is honest and sets the appropriate expectations. I give Dr Gelman and his staff my highest recommendation. The reconstructive surgery he performed changed my life! I feel so lucky to have found him. I wish every doctor performed at the same level as Dr Gelman. He is the benchmark for the best in the medical field.
I was born with severe hypospadius. I had multiple surgeries up to my 20th birthday. The ending result was a urethral stricture. I have suffered from this urethral stricture for over 25 years. My voiding was horrible. Extremely weak stream. I could never empty my bladder. I had to run to the bathroom everything 30 minutes. When I went out I always had to know where a bathroom was. Straining my bladder trying to push the urine through the stricture. I found a self proclaimed urethral structural specialist in NJ. All he would do is dialate my urethra causing me more complications, infections, septic blood infections with IV antibiotics with long hospital stays. I told myself I suffered enough! I searched the web and found Dr. Gelman. I emailed Dr. Gelman. He called me and we spoke for almost an hour. I explained my situation. Dr. Gelman felt confident he could help me. I flew out to California and was evaluated by Dr. Gelman. Dr. Gelman explained the 2 stage operations for urethroplasty reconstruction repair. I'm 5 months post op 2nd stage surgery. I urinate amazingly. My steam is Strong. Dr. Gelman ended my suffering. Dr. Gelman improved my quality of life. I can never thank Dr. Gelman enough. I highly recommend if you, or a Loved one is suffering, from a urethral problem, please contact Dr. Gelman. Do not let another surgeon operate / experiment/ practice on you.
In the spring of 2013, I acquired a bladder neck contracture following robotic prostate surgery. My urologistâs approach to treatment included painful dilations of the bladder neck and trips to the emergency room when that didnât work. I called Dr. Gelman for an evaluation. Following the evaluation Dr. Gelman explained that he wanted to perform a bladder neck incision. His confidence in the procedure gave me the trust that I needed to go forward. Two weeks later I had the surgery. Since the surgery, my bladder neck contracture has been cured without causing problems with incontinence. I feel that the cost of the surgery was reasonable and clearly explained to me. For these reasons, I would like to recommend Dr. Gelman and his staff to anyone who is having complications following prostate surgery. If you donât feel confident in your doctorâs approach, give Dr. Gelman a call or leave him a message on his website. You wonât regret it.
Great experience! Very professional and helpful. I would go back to him in the future.
Thank you, Dr. Gelman for giving me my life back!!! I suffered from intolerable incontinence stemming from radical prostatectomy, external beam radiation, transverse myelitis, a urinary sling implant and explant due to infection, surgery for pelvic osteomyelitis, and months of intravenous antibiotics five times a day. After this series of difficulties, my regular urologists were hesitant to perform additional surgery to help me conquer my incontinence and referred me to Dr. Gelman. I made an appointment to see Dr. Gelman and discuss my situation. Surprisingly, he called me, on Thanksgiving Day, to chat before the appointment. I was very impressed that he would take time away from a family holiday to talk on the phone with a patient. After seeing Dr. Gelman at my first appointment and having some tests performed, he was willing to perform surgery to implant an AUS (artificial urinary sphincter). Dr. Gelman's appointments administrator, Denise, is also a gem. Having a friendly, helpful person such as Denise makes a huge difference, both by phone and by email.Â I had the AUS surgery done by Dr. Gelman in the spring of 2013.Â I can not begin to express how pleased I am with the results of this surgery. The surgery, while very complicated because of my past history, went well, and there was no infection afterward. And the results were unbelievable. For the first time in five years, the fear and embarrassment from severe incontinence is now gone. Â Â My wife and I are going to Europe to celebrate, something I have been unable to do for the past five years. We plan on taking pictures of me standing in front of the Eiffel Tower with a sign that says, "Merci, Dr. Gelman!!"
I wasn't a patient, but I've just watched a television programme and from that, I think this man, Dr. Joel Gelman is a wonderful, caring, honest individual who deserves an award for his profession, his heart and his desire to help others in what ever way he can. He and his team performed the surgery on that man (Weslesy James, I think) who came out great in the end. I cried and asked God for forgiveness and thanked Him for His goodness, grace and mercies towards me, because, I am well and healthy and I still complain, fuss and grumble about how I am and how life is. I am grateful and Thankful. 100% Brilliant. S A Powell, London
Dr. Gelman took care of our then-8 year old son's urology issues. He was the only urologist (we have seen more than 5) to actually find out what the issue was by carefully examining and testing. He then recommended a very minor surgical procedure to correct our son's urine flow. It has been about 7 months since the surgery, and we are very pleased with the results.
There are surgeons and there are virtuosos, those that are so good that they operate on a higher level than even the best. Doc Gelman is a caring, compassionate, incredible virtuoso surgeon. He is the best - plain and simple. There is no one better. I had 3 prior surgeries (2 were urethroplasties) by an alleged expert at a major well known medical center back east, after a lifetime of being treated for urethral strictures. Nothing worked. In 2012, I had to endure a supra pubic catheter for most of the year because I could not void. Beforehand last surgery I was being prepared to learn how to self-catherize myself (never an option with Doc Gelman). Then Doc Gelman saved my life. In a 10 hour surgery, he corrected my urethral blockage, and now I void better than I have over my entire life. His nurse and assistant (Lulu) is patient, kind, caring and incredible. His interns at the hospital (UCI) were excellent. His office staff worked with me (Denise) to have my surgery covered by insurance when my insurer had rejected Doc Gelman's services 3 times, claiming someone else could do the repair. They were wrong - there is only one Doctor who could perform this miracle and it was Doc Gelman. Thank you so much to hos team for your kindness, expertise and for being the best at what you do.
Dr. Gelman took the time to fully answer any questions that I had. He even called us and spent over 20 minutes discussing my condition before I even selected him as my physician. That was his own time. He is very professional and dedicated to helping his patients overcome their disorders (in my case, urethral stricture). I would be glad to provide you with additional information. Please reach me through Dr. Gelman's office manager.
Dr. Gelman is a dedicated physician. He corrected a previous surgery by another doctor that left me dealing with horrible results.The original surgery was rushed and completed in only 40 minutes. Dr. Gelman didn't expect his revision to take more than three hours, but after starting the surgery he discovered much more to be done than he could have anticipated. Dr. Gelman and his team patiently took 5 hours to complete the surgery.Another surgeon could have been held responsible. Dr. Gelman could have walked away and helped someone with a simpler (or at least less time consuming) problem, but he hung in there with me and made sure my surgical results were excellent. Dr. Gelman and his staff did a wonderful job, they went above and beyond in helping me through this process. I recommend him highly.
I have this problem every since i was young, i would said something i was born upnormal with. i remember my first surgey was done at uci. the surgey wasnt giong to well. so i end up going to emergency multiples time. and my second surgey was done at fountain valley hospital. aslo failed. i also end up to emergency again. because of many times of surgey and emergency. to the point that i have to give up my hope. and i though that my problems cant never be fixed. until one day that was 2009 if i remember correctly. i end up go to emergency again because of the problem i have. so miracle that i was be able to meet with doctor Gelman. Dr Gelman go over with me every little detail that i need to know, and Dr Gelman told me that this can be fixed but it will takes more than one surgey. since i have many time of surgery this would suprise me at all. i feels so much hope now and so much confident when i'm under Dr Gelman care. just exactly like what Dr Gelman said after my 2 surgerys. my life has been totally different and this is something that i has been wishing for long long time ago. dont remember how many times i've cried and prayed. but in the end i thank God that has bring me to Dr Gelman. Thank you Dr Gelman for saving my life and also giving me back my life that i always dream of. Dr Gelman you are an Amazing doctor. with your magical hand and skills. i do believed there be alots of more patients like me or other will be save from you. I 100% recommend to this Dr Gelman for those whos out there have the same problem like me or others. Thank you Dr Gelman for saving my life and has give me a whole new me again. I will never forget you. NB
I can't think of anything negative to say about Dr. Gelman. He's an amazing doctor - confident, knows what he's talking about, has tons of experience, will take the time to answer your questions, etc. I flew to see Dr. Gelman from another city after doing a TON of research and it was the right choice. He did a great job on my surgery and I would highly recommend him for anyone with a urethral stricture.
Dr. Gelman is an absolute gem. Never did I feel like another number but instead, Dr. Gelman made me feel like my care was his utmost priority. He was kind enough to take an hour of his time (on the phone and not billed) to speak with my family and I about the evaluation process. After the initial conversation I elected to travel 2,500 miles to visit Dr. Gelman and ultimately I chose to entrust in Dr. Gelman with my procedure. Everything he told was dead on regarding how life would be like during my Urethroplasty. While there are doctors that could have provided me services with in a short drive of my home, Dr. Gelman was the only one that made me feel comfortable with the process from start to finish. Don't hesitate, if you are in need of Urethroplasty, go see Dr. Gelman!
Dr. Gelman really knows what he's talking about. He exudes confidence from doing hundreds of surgeries over many years. He spent plenty of time with me and answered all my questions. After doing a lot of my own research online, I wanted him to do my urethroplasty and now that it's done, I'm very happy I chose him. If you're going to have such a delicate procedure done, you can't go wrong with Dr. G.
From the very first visit with dr Gelman I knew he was the best specialist for my urethral stricture.I saw diffrenet urologist previously without finding a long term solution.He was able to tell me right away what needs to be done and now Its been 3 months since the serguryand Im doing amazing,do yourself a favor and see doctor Gelman you will be so thankfull you did.
I had a complex urological problem associated with ED and three previous surgeries in attempt to correct the issue by another doctor. Dr. Gelman corrected the problem with one surgery. However, his unrushed and detailed explanation of the procedure,compassion, and aftercare goes way beyond care I had previously received by other doctors. I highly recommend Dr. Gelman for anyones urological care.
After being poked and prodded by 2 other Urologists who obviously did not know how to cure my urethral stricture, it was a blessing to finally be referred to Dr. Gelman. From my initial visit with him, to my urethroplasty procedure, i always felt that i was receiving top notch care. There was not one time during my experience with Dr. Gelman that i doubted his ability to repair my urethral stricture. He emits a confidence that makes you feel completely at ease. Being only 23, it was very frustrating and puzzling that i was dealing with something like a urethral stricture. It took me a while to finally seek medical attention because it actually seemed embarrassing in a way. If you are in the same situation that i was, DO NOT WAIT, this is not something that you should deal with when there is somebody like Dr. Gelman who can fix your problem. Do not try and go to somebody else who claims they can perform this complex and precise operation, it is not worth it. Dr. Gelman is fellowship trained and is a true expert in this field. If you have any questions regarding the procedure or anything about the recovery, please e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and i am more than happy to discuss my life-changing experience with you.
What can I say. He is the man. The only doctor in the area that could fix my problem/issue.
Anyone who has ever suffered a stricture knows how incredibly debilitating they are. Dr. Gelman is the leader in the field of reconstruction, and completely changed my health. There is no equal to Dr. Gelman that I know of working in the U.S.
Dr. Gelman was great from the start he spent time with me on the phone explaining what would take place step by step, his diagnosis was right on, and the procedure was successful.
Dr. Gelman was recommended independently by several trusted doctors based on his experience and successes. Based on my own experience, he met, and even exceeded all of my expectations. He explained what would happen every step of the way and took the time to answer all of my questions. His surgical repair of my severed urethra due to a motorcycle accident pelvic injury was masterful. I had a fast and painless recovery with full functioning.
If you are reading this, you already know about urethral stricture and are considering the option of urethroplasty (reconstruction), so I won't waste screen space with additional background (if needed, Dr. Gelman's website is an excellent resource on urethral stricture in general).I am nearly 1yr post reconstruction and things are going well; "I am urinating freely again" sounds like a punchline but, as mentioned above, if you're reading this you know this is no joke!I had a complete obliteration of the penile urethra that was repaired by Dr. Gelman in early 2010 using both a buccal graft(skin from the inside of my cheek) and foreskin (for repair near the glans).This sounds scary... I was scared. I feared the pain. I feared losing erectile function. I feared losing sexual function in general. I feared losing IT! I feared time away from work. I feared the preparations for surgery (see below re: SP tube). I spent a year "avoiding" this scary surgery by self-dilating with a 14F coude catheter... in retrospect, this made things much worse. What was once a small <1 cm stricture became a complete penile obliteration... I basically scraped my urethra raw over that time. If you're currently doing this, even at the direction of a urologist you trust, please see Dr. Gelman before doing further damage!Ultimately, my fears of urethroplasty were overblown and it is very important for anyone considering reconstruction to undertand this. The fear delayed my step into surgery, which ultimately made things worse. The suffering I encountered during a year of self-dilations (and several urologist-administered dilations, catheter placements, and emergency room visit for clogged catheter) was many magnitudes beyond anything the surgery brought.My fears versus the reality I ultimately encountered with Dr. Gelman:1. I feared Dr. Gelman was out of the mainstream and doing "experimental" surgery. In reality, Dr. Gelman's procedures are THE standard of care for urethral stricture disease. Read the medical literature yourself in order to become comfortable with this. Look for names such as McAninch, Santucci, and Barbagli, in addition to Gelman. While the number of surgeons specializing in this area is small, this is by no means an experimental area: urethroplasty is an established specialization. Do NOT have any surgical repairs without first talking to one of these "super-specialists" who devote their entire practice to this type of surgery. Dr. Gelman was my choice and I would recommend him to anyone... but there are a few others who also devote their practices to this if Gelman is difficult for you to access.2. I feared my insurance would not cover something so specialized. Dr. Gelman was outside my HMO network; it was difficult to get my HMO to approve Dr. Gelman's care, but Dr. Gelman's office was incredibly supportive throughout the process by communicating with me, my insurance company, and my local urologists. Ultimately, the HMO did approve Dr. Gelman's care. Dr. Gelman's office worked very closely with the insurance company to facilitate coverage at all stages... while his office does not have standing contracts with the insurance companies that set established rates... they did help at every step to assure pre-approvals, etc. The office folks will get to know you by name, eventually, and you will feel like you are very important to them. This is not an assembly-line type of office; your case will be taken seriously and treated with very personalized care.3. I feared urethroplasty and thought "there had to be an easier way". However, all of the "easier" ways I tried made things worse. Dilations (both by my urologist and self-administered) simply made things worse over time. I never tried direct vision urethrotomy (slicing the stricture internally by knife or laser to attempt to "free" it), and am glad I didn't. Thank God I never tried a stent (see Dr. Gelman's published medical paper on his repair of failed urethral stents, and you will understand). Ultimately, a large part of Dr. Gelman's work involves fixing other surgeons' mistakes. Don't be one of those mistakes! See one of the super-specialists before anyone starts cutting on your urethra!4. I feared the pain after surgery. Amazingly (and this is the kind of thing you will not believe until experiencing it) I had basically no post-surgical pain. Yes, the skin of my penis was removed (degloved; pulled down like a sock) to expose the urethra and then pulled back up and reattached! Yes, I had a meatotomy. Yes, my foreskin was used as part of the urethral graft. This did NOT cause pain (well, at least POST-surgery... I was asleep during the actual cutting, of course!). What hurt after surgery was my mouth, where the skin graft was taken from my cheek. Again, you will have a hard time believing this without direct experience... but I can tell you from that fear of pain at the urethral surgery site should NOT dissuade you from this surgery.5. I feared pain from erections post-surgery. Yikes... imagine having your penis operated on, then getting a nocturnal erection! Scary stuff. Two things mitigated this as a problem: first, post-surgery, your "junk" is wrapped up like a sausage. A tight clear dressing is placed which holds all the surgically repaired "stuff" in place. Stretching can occur, but this does not get out of control. Second, you are provided ampules of amyl nitrite which, when inhaled, immediately knock down an erection if one begins. Erections were a major source of fear, but not a problem.6. I feared I would lose sexual function after the surgery. Everything still works... don't need to elaborate.7. I was deathly afraid of having a suprapubic catheter (SP tube) installed for a "waiting period" before surgery. An SP tube? Really? For how long? While being told I needed to have an SP tube installed in my belly for 3 months prior to surgery was scary... at the same time it was comforting. While it sounds extreme, I got the sense that Dr. Gelman was serious and knew what he was doing. By doing something like this, I was reassured that he knew how to "fix" this problem in one shot, without failure. The reason to do this is the need to "bypass" the urethra while it completely equilibrates (i.e., all scar tissue formation/stricture formation is complete). If this step is skipped, there is a risk that not all "bad" or "scarring" tissue is removed/repaired. Ultimately, the SP tube was not difficult to deal with. If you are accustomed to urethral catheters the SP tube is, relatively, a complete breeze... it is not painful or restrictive the way a urethral tube is. Certainly it's not fun... but in the big picture, this was easy. If you are working with a surgeon that does not see this step as important, please question this.8. I feared having the catheters in place for many days post-surgery. You will emerge from surgery with the SP tube intact and functioning, and a urethral catheter in place as well. The urethral catheter is there only to support the repaired urethra... it is not attached to the drainage bag. This makes a night-and-day difference in comfort. Because the urethral catheter is free to move (not weighted down by a linkage to a drain bag) it is not nearly as uncomfortable as the normal situation (if you are familiar with this, you will hopefully understand my point).Because I feared urethroplasty, I talked extensively with Dr. Gelman, my PCP, two local urologists, and two surgeons in other areas of the US who focus their practices on and have published medical papers on urethral reconstruction.All signs pointed to Dr. Gelman being the foremost expert in this very specialized surgery, and based on my outcome to date those signs were correct.Good luck with your journey... if you are reading this, you are already on the right path!
My urethra was torn apart in a car accident. My local urologist said he was not qualified to reconstruct a urethra. He said it is a very delicate operation, and there are only two doctors in the United States who consistently do it well. One of those two doctors is Dr. Joel Gelman. (I believe he said the other doctor is in Virginia.) I visited Dr. Gelman and was extremely impressed with his caring nature and his confidence that he could reconstruct my urethra. He performed the operation, and it was a total success! I urinate normally now. My local urologist wanted to perform a cystoscopy on me recently. This is where a scope is passed through the urethra into the bladder. Although the local doctor had good intentions, I only trust Dr. Gelman with my urethra. I wouldn't trust anyone else. Therefore, I drove the distance to get to Dr. Gelman and had him perform the cystoscopy. As expected, he did an excellent job, and I am fine.I can't speak highly enough of Dr. Gelman and would DEFINITELY recommend him.
My surgery by expert accounts, was very difficult with a 7 hour total surgery time, and week hospital stay, followed by another 3 weeks bed rest. From first diagnosis, and scope, to recovery room, Dr. Gelman and his staff were first rate. Prior to the surgery, Dr. Gelman laid out all of my options. Post surgery, I received routine visits from both Dr. Gelman, and his staff of interns and residents. Follow up visits have been perfectly scheduled ahead of time, and have resulted in little or no wait time before the appointment. The results of the surgery were better than I could ever have imagined. While post op recovery was a little painful, I am completely pain free four months to the day after the surgery. If you are deciding on a similar surgery, you owe it to yourself to at least meet with Dr. Gelman and get your options straight. He is a leader in this specific surgery for a reason.
We we first met Dr. Gelman I found him to be a bit abrupt and matter of fact. However, I could tell he absolutely knew what he was doing and was confident of his knowledge and expretise.As we came for our many visits to prepare for our son's surgery Dr. Gelman became more animated and human in his responses to our family (jokesters). We never questioned his ability to help our son and we had absolute confidence in him. When Dr. Gelman does a good job, he exudes his pleasure in his art. And he is absolutely an artist with what he does.THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR MAKING OUR SON WHOLE.Sandra Scott, Dennis Haynes and Scott Haynes
Dr. Joel Gelman in my opinion is the best doctor. He kindly talked to me, and gave me my surgery to the best of his ablilities. He also he treated me with respect and care before, and after my surgery. I greatly appreciate him and I would recommend him to anyone.
The reconstructive surgery changed my life... I was getting ready to use diapers and catheters, but the reconstructive surgry saved me from all that- no more incontenence and very good flow rates.
Dr. Gelman took care of my baby. He did his reconstructive surgery. After many, many hours my Mom spent researching Doctors all over the country, we decided Dr. Gelman was our top choice. We live in Texas and was well worth everthing it took to go to Ca. My baby is now healthy and is like a different baby. This was a very difficult and complicated surgery.We recommend him as the best possible Urethra Reconstructive Surgeon anywhere.THANK YOU DR. GELMAN FROM THE BOTTOM OF OUR HEARTS. WE LOVE YOU.KIM AND VICKI AND CAIDEN