Treatment / Pyeloplasty

Operations to deal with blockage between the upper part of the ureter and renal pelvis
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Pyeloplasty:  Overview


Pyeloplasty is a surgical procedure designed to correct an obstruction of the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ). UPJ is where the renal pelvis meets the ureter. This procedure aims to restore the free flow of urine from the kidney into the ureter, ensuring the proper functioning of the urinary system.

Indications for Pyeloplasty

  1. Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) Obstruction: A condition where the flow of urine from the kidney to the ureter is blocked, potentially causing kidney damage, pain, or stones.
  2. Recurrent Pain: Persistent pain in the flank area associated with UPJ obstruction.
  3. Reduced Kidney Function: As detected by imaging studies and renal function tests, related to UPJ obstruction.
  4. Presence of Large or Recurring Kidney Stones: Resulting from the stasis of urine due to obstruction.

Decision Making

The decision to undergo pyeloplasty involves:

  1. Diagnostic Tests: Including intravenous pyelography, renal ultrasound, and a diuretic renogram to confirm UPJ obstruction.
  2. Symptom Evaluation: Considering the intensity and frequency of pain, infections, and other associated symptoms.
  3. Consultation with a Urologist: Discuss potential risks, benefits, and available alternatives thoroughly.

Types of Pyeloplasty

  1. Open Pyeloplasty:

    • Traditional approach involving a flank incision.
    • Direct visualization and correction of the obstruction.
  2. Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty:

    • Minimally invasive technique using small incisions and specialized instruments.
    • Offers shorter recovery time and reduced post-operative pain compared to open surgery.
  3. Robotic-Assisted Pyeloplasty:

    • Advanced form of laparoscopic surgery.
    • Uses robotic instruments that provide the surgeon with enhanced precision, dexterity, and control.

Risks Associated with Pyeloplasty

  1. Infection: Though rare, post-operative infections may occur.
  2. Bleeding: As with any surgery, there’s a risk of bleeding.
  3. Anesthetic Complications: Reactions to anesthesia or breathing complications.
  4. Recurrence of UPJ Obstruction: In some cases, the obstruction might recur.
  5. Damage to Nearby Structures: Including intestines, blood vessels, or spleen.

Alternatives to Pyeloplasty

  1. Observation: In mild cases without symptoms, regular monitoring might be recommended.
  2. Endopyelotomy: A less invasive procedure where an endoscope makes a small incision in the UPJ from inside.
  3. Balloon Dilation: Expanding the UPJ using a balloon-tipped catheter.

Post-operative Care

  1. Hospital Stay: Depending on the type of surgery, a short hospital stay might be necessary.
  2. Pain Management: Pain relievers will be prescribed to manage post-operative pain.
  3. Activity: Gradual return to normal activities, typically within 2-4 weeks.
  4. Follow-up: Scheduled appointments to ensure proper healing and assess kidney function.
  5. Diet: Temporary dietary changes might be suggested to ease the urinary system.

External Links for Further Reference:

  1. British Association of Urological Surgeons Leaflet for Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty
  2. British Association of Urological Surgeons Leaflet for Open Pyeloplasty
  3. British Association of Urological Surgeons Leaflet for Endopyelotomy


Pyeloplasty is a vital procedure that can significantly improve the quality of life for individuals with pelviuretric junction obstructions. Through advancements in medical technology, options like laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgeries offer patients less invasive approaches with faster recoveries. It’s imperative to consult with a urologist to determine the most appropriate treatment plan tailored to individual needs.