BACKGROUND: Iatrogenic ureteral injuries are devastating complications potentially resulting in irreversible impairment of renal function and/or infectious sequelae. Only few data are available on the management of such injuries to the abdominal ureter.
OBJECTIVE: To report the etiology, perioperative outcomes, and treatment failure rate of different reconstructive surgical interventions for iatrogenic injuries to the abdominal ureter in a contemporary case series.
DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS: We retrospectively analyzed consecutive patients who underwent reconstructive surgery for iatrogenic injuries to the abdominal ureter at our academic centers between July 2013 and April 2019. All interventions were performed via either an open or a robot-assisted approach by a single expert surgeon.
SURGICAL PROCEDURE: Different surgical reconstructive procedures, such as Boari bladder flap, ureteroureterostomy, ileal replacement, and pyeloureteroplasty, have been adopted.
MEASUREMENTS: Outcome measures were the etiology of iatrogenic injuries, rate of postoperative complications, and rate of treatment failure, defined as upper urinary tract obstruction requiring permanent urinary drainage.
RESULTS AND LIMITATIONS: Nineteen patients were included. Injuries were consequent to endourological procedures in nine (47.4%), gynecological procedures in two (10.5%), colonic surgery in two (10.5%), vascular surgery in two (10.5%), and other surgeries in four (21.1%) cases. Boari bladder flap was performed in 12 (63.2%), ureteroureterostomy in two (10.5%), ileal substitution in two (10.5%), and pyeloureteroplasty in three (15.8%) cases. Only four (21.1%) procedures were performed robotically. Major postoperative complications were recorded in three (15.8%) patients. After a median follow-up of 16 (interquartile range 12-24) mo, treatment failure was observed in two (15.8%) cases. We accept the limitations of a small retrospective single-surgeon series with preference-based management choice.
CONCLUSIONS: In our series, endourological procedures were the most frequent cause of iatrogenic injuries to the abdominal ureter requiring reconstructive surgery. A Boari bladder flap was the preferred option to bridge extensive ureteral defects. Despite the complexity of such procedures, major postoperative complications were infrequent and treatment failure rate was low.
PATIENT SUMMARY: We report on a contemporary series of patients with disparate iatrogenic injuries to the abdominal ureter requiring complex reconstructive surgery. Despite the difficulty of such procedures, we found that major postoperative complications were infrequent and treatment failure rate was low.