• URF of any degree of complexity can be managed without the need for a transanorectal sphincter-splitting approach or a covering colostomy and without the need for an interposition flap when the circumstances are appropriate and the surgeon is sufficiently experienced. URF with cavitation and in the post-irradiation group are an exception and do require an interposition flap. • The role of salvage radical prostatectomy in patients with a URF who still have a prostate, needs to be defined. • We suggest that cavitation, BNC and extensive ischaemia due to the serial application of external energy sources confer 'complexity'. Post-surgical URF are simple except for those with cavitation or a BNC. Most post-irradiation URF are complex even in the absence of cavitation or a BNC.