Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) obstruction occurs when the area that connects the kidneys (renal pelvis) to the ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidney to the bladder) is blocked. As a result, urine cannot flow to the bladder properly. This condition is more common in infants and young children, but it does occur in adult patients, as well.
UPJ obstruction may be severe, minimal, or intermittent. It can be related to a congenital condition (occurring at the time of birth) that causes narrowing of the ureter as it forms in fetal development, or the result of kidney stones, a tumor, scarring from previous surgery, or other disorders that can cause inflammation of the upper urinary tract.
- Sudden pain on the side of the abdomen, especially after drinking large quantities of liquids.
- Pressure in the pelvis region (lower abdomen) due to the enlargement of the kidneys. This pressure is due to the build-up of urine in the kidneys (hydronephrosis), which can’t drain to the bladder due to the blockage. If hydronephrosis continues for too long loss of kidney function may result.
- Blood in the urine (hematuria)
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Frequent urinary tract infections (UTIs)
Treating UPJ Obstruction
The treatment for Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction is surgery to remove the blockage and restore urine flow. At Colorado Urology, we perform minimally invasive, robotic pyeloplasty to repair UPJ obstructions.
Robot-Assisted, Minimally Invasive Pyeloplasty
Pyeloplasty refers to a surgery performed to remove the obstruction and reattach the ureter to the kidney at the renal pelvis. This procedure is performed laparoscopically (or minimally invasive), accessing the affected ureter through a small incision in the abdomen.
Benefits of performing this procedure robotically (over a traditional or open pyeloplasty) may include:
- Less blood loss
- Shorter hospital stay
- Faster recovery time
- Lower risk of infection
- Less scarring
Not all patients are candidates for robotic surgery. Please talk to your doctor.