Reconstructive Urologist Joins UH

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His expertise includes treating cancer patients, as well as those requesting gender affirmation surgery

UH Clinical Update | September 2019

Shubham Gupta, MDShubham Gupta, MD, FACS

Shubham Gupta, MD, FACS, seeks to make his patients whole again, blazing a trail in a relatively new specialty and the first to practice at University Hospitals.

Dr. Gupta is a reconstructive urologist who can help restore a patient’s functionality marred by cancer. He also has the unique expertise to help reconcile a person to their identity through gender affirmation surgery.

“Most institutions in the U.S. don’t have a reconstructive urologist,” notes Dr. Gupta, who comes to University Hospitals from the Chandler Medical Center at the University of Kentucky, where he served as Chief of the Division of Reconstructive Urology.

Dr. Gupta specializes in reconstruction for men and women following cancer and radiation treatment, such as those of the bladder, prostate, uterus and cervix. He also has expertise in other aspects of genitourinary reconstruction including urethral strictures, or ureteral injury and strictures from previous surgery or radiation.

“If a woman or man has had cancer, sometimes the treatment for their cancer itself can occasionally have pretty devastating sequelae including scar tissues, fistulas, sexual and urinary side effects,” Dr. Gupta says. “We can help mitigate these side effects with the combination of medical, behavioral, and surgical therapy; sometimes using advanced reconstruction techniques. That is a very strong focus of my practice.”

Dr. Gupta completed a fellowship in Reconstructive Urology and Genitourinary Cancer Survivorship at Duke University, where he worked with reconstructive urologists, colorectal surgeons and plastic surgeons. Through this fellowship, he gained an appreciation for the complex and comprehensive nature of urology’s interface with oncology.

At the University of Kentucky, Dr. Gupta developed a Cancer Survivorship program that helps restore patients physically and psychologically, improving their quality of life. He has extensive experience with treating post-prostatectomy incontinence and sexual dysfunction, rectourethral fistula repair, bladder neck contracture repair and urinary diversion for devastated bladders. In collaboration with plastics surgery, he helped develop the first and only gender affirmation program in Kentucky.

Gender affirmation surgery is an evolving cross disciplinary field. Until recently, patients would have to travel to Chicago or the bicoastal areas for many genital gender affirmation surgeries (bottom surgeries). Dr Gupta is now offering male to female as well female to male bottom surgeries including vaginoplasties, phalloplasties, metoidoplasties inter alia. 

“At UH, we will be offering the entire gamut of gender affirmation surgery,” says Dr. Gupta, noting that even by conservative estimates, this could apply to thousands of patients. “These are complete reconstructions, removing the penis and testicles and creating a functioning vagina with appropriate sensations for male to female transitions. We can do this in a single operation lasting five hours. 

“Transitions from females to males are more difficult. It is challenging, but possible with careful patient selection, preoperative planning and meticulous surgical technique to create an aesthetically pleasing and functioning penis that can achieve an erection.

Lee Ponsky, MD, Chairman of the University Hospitals Urology Institute, is delighted to welcome a reconstructive urologist who is embracing these areas of specialty. The program will be supported by other specialists, including plastic surgery and psychology

“The new UH Urology Institute is the region’s only comprehensive both male to female and female to male program,” Dr. Ponsky says. “This is really exciting news for the community to improve quality of life for our patients.”

To refer a patient to Dr. Gupta, call 440-683-6685.

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