AM Kajbafzadeh M.D. Editor

The Iranian history of antique urology started approximately 14 centuries ago, when three of the greatest prehistoric Persian physicians, Rhazes (854–925), Holy Abbas (930–994) and Avicenna (980–1037), started urological surgery. Rhazes was known as a great surgeon and he developed several techniques in surgical management of bladder stones and kidney abscesses. He was a pioneer in the use of dried animal gut as suture material. He also introduced a number of new remedies, such as mercurial ointment. He was the first physician to treat gonorrhea successfully by injection of mercury ointment into the urethra. The first non-English textbook of urology in three volumes, The diseases of kidney and urinary tracts (each volume describing female, male and pediatric urology), was published in the 9th century. Most of the descriptions of genitourinary diseases are classified as the modern urological classification.

Rhazes was a pioneer in the use of bladder catheter and provided many details about urethral catheterization in the first textbook of genitourinary diseases. He was the first to make a flexible handmade catheter by using a small stripe of inverted tubularized goat's skin, kept in a mixture solution of goat blood, natural calcium and lead powder. He was also the first to introduce soft and fresh cheese for lubrication before urethral catheterization, and cautioned against injury to the urethra.

The second Persian physician was Ali ibn al- Abbas al Majusi, known in Europe as Holy Abbas, who was born in Ahwaz, in southwestern Persia. He invented several urological surgical techniques. The third great Persian physician who changed urology knowledge was Avicenna (980–1037), the author of a medical encyclopedia called Canon.

Canon dominated the medical schools all around Asia and Europe for almost six centuries. Avicenna also mentioned grasping forceps and mechanical litholopaxy.

This type of urological practice was continued in Iran until the 19th century, when the first modern governmental hospital was opened in 1875 in Tehran, Iran. This hospital was run by national and international physicians until 1940. At that time, the first department of urology was established by Dr Loghman-Almamalek, who carried out the most common urological surgery, such as suprapubic bladder stone surgery. Dr Saeed Malek was the first to be appointed as a chairman of the urology ward (as a section of the surgical department) in 1934. In 1960, 26 years later, the ward was accepted as a separate department, and with a growing number of trained urologists, the Iranian Society of Urology was established. The number of urologists has reached 1000 for the 70 million inhabitants of Iran. Seven subspecialties, or fellowships (Pediatric Urology, Renal Transplantation, Uro-oncology, Andrology, Endourology, Female Urology, Uro-laparoscopy), have been established and are currently functioning at more than 25 academic urology wards. These subspecialties are growing in quantity and quality very quickly as a result of the large number of patients being referred. These fellowship training programs (especially pediatric urology, endourology and uro-laparoscopy) are seeking to accept international trainees for a fellowship or short course training program.

One national and one international urology journal is published regularly, both of which appear in Pubmed. We have several joint programs with the Asian Urological Association, European Urological Association and Société Internationale d’Urologie annual meeting.