Pyeloplasty Operation: Open, Laparoscopic and Robotic

Pyeloplasty Operation: Open, Laparoscopic and Robotic

Pyeloplasty Operation is a surgical procedure aimed at correcting a blockage or narrowing in the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ), which is the area where the kidney connects to the ureter. This obstruction can lead to urine backup, causing pain and potential damage to the kidney over time. During pyeloplasty, the surgeon typically removes the narrowed or obstructed part of the UPJ and reconstructs the urinary tract to restore proper flow of urine from the kidney to the bladder.

This procedure can be performed through traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy or robotic-assisted surgery, depending on the patient’s condition and the surgeon’s preference. Pyeloplasty is considered a safe and effective treatment option for UPJ obstruction, with the goal of relieving symptoms, preserving kidney function, and improving overall urinary health.

What is pyeloplasty and types of Pyeloplasty Operation

Pyeloplasty is a surgical procedure performed to correct a blockage or narrowing at the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ), which is the area where the kidney connects to the ureter. This blockage can lead to urine backup, causing pain and potential damage to the kidney over time. Pyeloplasty aims to remove the obstruction and restore normal urine flow from the kidney to the bladder.

There are different types of pyeloplasty depending on the patterns of incision used. These include the Y-V, Inverted ‘U’, and Dismembered pyeloplasty. The dismembered type of pyeloplasty (Anderson-Hynes pyeloplasty) is the most common type. Another type of pyeloplasty is Culp’s pyeloplasty; in this method a flap is rotated from dilated pelvis to decrease narrowing of ureter.

There are several types of pyeloplasty, including:

  • Open Pyeloplasty: In open pyeloplasty, a large abdominal incision is made to access the kidney and ureter. The narrowed or obstructed part of the UPJ is removed, and the remaining healthy segments are reconstructed to allow for proper urine flow. Open pyeloplasty may be recommended for complex cases or when minimally invasive approaches are not suitable.
    • Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty: Laparoscopic pyeloplasty is a minimally invasive procedure where small incisions are made in the abdomen to insert a laparoscope (a thin, flexible tube with a camera) and specialized surgical instruments. The surgeon uses the laparoscope to visualize the surgical site and performs the pyeloplasty with the assistance of robotic or manual instruments. Laparoscopic pyeloplasty offers benefits such as reduced postoperative pain, shorter hospital stays, and faster recovery compared to open surgery.
    • Robot-assisted Pyeloplasty: Robot-assisted pyeloplasty is a variation of laparoscopic pyeloplasty where the surgeon controls robotic arms equipped with surgical instruments to perform the procedure. The robotic system provides enhanced precision and dexterity, allowing for intricate maneuvers in tight spaces. Robot-assisted pyeloplasty offers similar benefits to laparoscopic pyeloplasty, including reduced invasiveness and improved outcomes.
    • Endopyelotomy: Endopyelotomy is a minimally invasive procedure performed using a flexible ureteroscope inserted through the urethra into the urinary tract. The surgeon uses specialized tools to make small incisions or cuts in the narrowed part of the UPJ, thereby widening the passage for urine flow. Endopyelotomy is suitable for select cases of UPJ obstruction and may be preferred for patients who are not candidates for open or laparoscopic surgery.

The choice of pyeloplasty technique depends on various factors, including the patient’s overall health, the severity and location of the obstruction, and the surgeon’s expertise. Each approach has its advantages and limitations, and the decision is made collaboratively between the patient and their healthcare team to ensure the best possible outcome.

Advantages and disadvantages of pyeloplasty operations

Pyeloplasty operations, whether performed through open surgery, laparoscopy, or robotic assistance, offer several advantages and disadvantages:


  • Improved Urinary Flow: Pyeloplasty effectively removes obstructions at the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ), restoring normal urine flow from the kidney to the bladder. This alleviates symptoms such as pain and urinary tract infections.
  • Preservation of Kidney Function: By relieving the obstruction, pyeloplasty helps preserve kidney function and prevents further damage to the affected kidney.
  • Minimally Invasive Options: Laparoscopic and robot-assisted pyeloplasty techniques offer less invasive alternatives to traditional open surgery. These minimally invasive approaches typically result in shorter hospital stays, less postoperative pain, and faster recovery times compared to open surgery.
  • Reduced Scarring: Minimally invasive pyeloplasty procedures involve smaller incisions, resulting in reduced scarring and improved cosmetic outcomes.
  • High Success Rates: Pyeloplasty procedures have high success rates, with the majority of patients experiencing long-term relief from symptoms and improved kidney function.


  • Surgical Risks: As with any surgical procedure, pyeloplasty carries inherent risks, including bleeding, infection, and adverse reactions to anesthesia.
  • Recovery Time: While minimally invasive pyeloplasty techniques generally offer faster recovery times compared to open surgery, patients may still require several weeks to fully recover and resume normal activities.
  • Cost: Robot-assisted pyeloplasty, in particular, may be associated with higher costs due to the use of specialized equipment and longer operating times.
  • Technical Challenges: Laparoscopic and robot-assisted pyeloplasty require specialized training and expertise. Surgeons must overcome technical challenges associated with these techniques, such as limited dexterity and depth perception, to ensure successful outcomes.
  • Not Suitable for All Patients: Some patients may not be suitable candidates for pyeloplasty due to factors such as advanced kidney disease, extensive scarring, or underlying medical conditions that increase surgical risks.

Overall, the benefits of pyeloplasty in terms of symptom relief, preservation of kidney function, and improved quality of life often outweigh the potential drawbacks. However, it’s essential for patients to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of pyeloplasty with their healthcare provider to make informed decisions about their treatment options.

Comparisons of different techniques: Pyeloplasty Operation

Here’s a comparison of the main techniques used in pyeloplasty operations: open pyeloplasty, laparoscopic pyeloplasty, and robot-assisted pyeloplasty.

Open Pyeloplasty:

  • Advantages:
  • Well-established technique with long-term success.
    • Provides direct access to the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) and surrounding structures.
    • Allows for comprehensive inspection and correction of any associated abnormalities.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Requires a larger abdominal incision, resulting in longer recovery times and increased postoperative pain.
    • Higher risk of scarring and wound complications.
    • Longer hospital stays compared to minimally invasive techniques.

Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty:

  • Advantages:
  • Minimally invasive approach with smaller abdominal incisions, leading to reduced postoperative pain and shorter hospital stays.
    • Enhanced visualization of the surgical site with the use of a laparoscope.
    • Faster recovery times and improved cosmetic outcomes compared to open surgery.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Requires specialized training and expertise in laparoscopic techniques.
    • Limited range of motion and dexterity compared to open surgery.
    • Longer operative times compared to open surgery, particularly during the learning curve.

Robot-assisted Pyeloplasty:

  • Advantages:
  • Combines the benefits of laparoscopic surgery with enhanced dexterity and precision provided by robotic instruments.
    • Allows for more intricate suturing and dissection in tight spaces, such as the UPJ.
    • Offers improved visualization and ergonomics for the surgeon.
  • Disadvantages:
  • Higher cost associated with the use of robotic equipment and longer operative times.
    • Requires specialized training for both the surgeon and operating room staff.
    • Limited availability of robotic systems in some healthcare facilities.

Overall, the choice of pyeloplasty technique depends on factors such as patient anatomy, surgeon expertise, and institutional resources. Open pyeloplasty remains a reliable option, particularly for complex cases or when minimally invasive techniques are not feasible. Laparoscopic and robot-assisted pyeloplasty offer the advantages of reduced invasiveness and faster recovery times, with robot-assisted surgery providing additional benefits in terms of precision and ergonomics. However, these minimally invasive techniques require specialized training and may not be readily available in all healthcare settings. Patients should discuss their options with their healthcare provider to determine the most suitable approach based on their individual circumstances.

Indications of pyeloplasty

Pyeloplasty operations are indicated in cases of ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction, where there is a blockage or narrowing at the point where the kidney connects to the ureter. The primary indications for pyeloplasty include:

  • Symptomatic UPJ Obstruction: Patients with symptomatic UPJ obstruction typically experience symptoms such as flank pain, recurrent urinary tract infections, kidney stones, or hematuria (blood in the urine). Pyeloplasty aims to relieve these symptoms by restoring normal urine flow from the kidney to the bladder.
  • Impaired Kidney Function: UPJ obstruction can lead to impaired kidney function due to urine backup and increased pressure within the renal pelvis. Pyeloplasty is indicated to preserve kidney function and prevent further deterioration by removing the obstruction and restoring proper urinary drainage.
  • Recurrent Urinary Tract Infections (UTIs): Patients with UPJ obstruction may experience recurrent UTIs due to stasis of urine in the affected kidney. Pyeloplasty helps reduce the risk of UTIs by improving urine flow and eliminating the source of infection.
  • Hydronephrosis: UPJ obstruction often results in the buildup of urine within the kidney, leading to a condition known as hydronephrosis. Pyeloplasty is indicated to relieve hydronephrosis by removing the obstruction and allowing urine to drain freely from the kidney.
  • Renal Colic: Patients with UPJ obstruction may experience episodes of renal colic, characterized by severe flank pain radiating to the groin or back. Pyeloplasty helps alleviate renal colic by restoring normal urine flow and relieving pressure within the renal pelvis.
  • Obstruction Unresponsive to Conservative Management: In cases where conservative measures such as observation, analgesics, or antibiotics fail to alleviate symptoms or improve kidney function, pyeloplasty may be indicated as definitive treatment.
  • Progressive Deterioration of Kidney Function: Patients with progressive deterioration of kidney function secondary to UPJ obstruction may require prompt surgical intervention to prevent irreversible damage and preserve renal function.
  • Associated Anomalies or Conditions: Pyeloplasty may be indicated in patients with associated congenital anomalies, such as horseshoe kidney or duplex kidney, or conditions such as ureteropelvic junction obstruction associated with crossing vessels.

Overall, the decision to perform pyeloplasty is based on careful evaluation of the patient’s clinical presentation, imaging studies, kidney function tests, and response to conservative management. The goal of pyeloplasty is to relieve symptoms, preserve kidney function, and improve overall urinary health in patients with UPJ obstruction.

Contraindications of laparoscopic and robotic pyeloplasty

Laparoscopic and robotic pyeloplasty are minimally invasive surgical procedures used to treat ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction, a condition where there’s a blockage at the point where the ureter attaches to the kidney pelvis. While these procedures are generally safe and effective, there are still some contraindications, or situations where they may not be recommended. Some contraindications include:

  • Severe scarring or fibrosis: If there is extensive scarring or fibrosis around the UPJ, it can make the procedure technically challenging and may increase the risk of complications.
  • Severe obesity: Excessive obesity can make it difficult to access the surgical site and may increase the risk of complications during and after surgery.
  • Previous extensive abdominal surgery: Previous abdominal surgeries can result in adhesions (scar tissue), which may complicate the surgical procedure or increase the risk of injury to surrounding organs.
  • Pregnancy: Laparoscopic and robotic surgery is generally avoided during pregnancy due to potential risks to the fetus.

It’s important to note that these contraindications may vary depending on the specific circumstances of each patient, and the final decision regarding the suitability of laparoscopic or robotic pyeloplasty should be made by the surgeon after a thorough evaluation of the patient’s medical history and condition.

Complications of surgery

Pyeloplasty operations, like any surgical procedure, carry certain risks and potential complications. These can vary depending on factors such as the patient’s overall health, the technique used (open, laparoscopic, or robot-assisted), and the experience of the surgical team. Some common complications associated with pyeloplasty include:

  • Bleeding: Bleeding during or after surgery is a potential complication of pyeloplasty Operation. Excessive bleeding may require blood transfusions or additional surgical intervention to control.
  • Infection: Surgical site infections or urinary tract infections can occur following pyeloplasty Operation. These infections may require antibiotic treatment and can prolong recovery time.
  • Urinary Leak: Leakage of urine from the surgical site can occur, particularly at the site of anastomosis (where the ureter is reconnected). Urinary leaks may necessitate further surgical intervention or prolonged catheterization.
  • Ureteral Stricture: Narrowing of the ureter at the site of repair (ureteral stricture) can occur as a result of scar tissue formation. This can lead to recurrent urinary obstruction and may require additional procedures to correct.
  • Prolonged Pain: Some patients may experience prolonged or chronic pain following pyeloplasty, which can be related to scar tissue formation, nerve injury, or other factors.
  • Hydrocele: In males, fluid accumulation around the testicle (hydrocele) can occur as a complication of pyeloplasty. This usually resolves spontaneously but may require intervention if it persists or causes discomfort.
  • Hernia: Incisional hernias can occur at the site of the surgical incision, particularly in open pyeloplasty. Hernias may require surgical repair if they become symptomatic.
  • Nerve Injury: Injury to surrounding nerves during surgery can result in sensory or motor deficits, such as numbness, weakness, or altered sensation in the abdominal or pelvic region.
  • Anesthetic Complications: Adverse reactions to anesthesia, such as respiratory depression, allergic reactions, or anesthesia-related complications, can occur during or after pyeloplasty.
  • Failure of Surgery: In some cases, pyeloplasty may not adequately relieve urinary obstruction or may result in recurrent obstruction over time, necessitating further intervention or alternative treatment options.

It’s essential for patients to discuss the potential risks and complications of pyeloplasty with their healthcare provider before undergoing surgery. While pyeloplasty Operation is generally safe and effective, understanding these risks can help patients make informed decisions about their treatment options and prepare for the postoperative period.

Preoperative evaluation

A comprehensive preoperative evaluation for pyeloplasty operation involves assessing the patient’s medical history, performing physical examination, and conducting diagnostic tests to evaluate kidney function, urinary tract anatomy, and overall health. Here’s an outline of the preoperative evaluation process:

Medical History: The patient’s medical history should be thoroughly reviewed, including any previous surgeries, underlying medical conditions (such as hypertension, diabetes, or kidney disease), allergies, medications, and family history of kidney or urinary tract disorders.

Physical Examination: A thorough physical examination is performed to assess the patient’s overall health, including vital signs, abdominal examination to palpate for masses or tenderness, and assessment of urinary symptoms such as flank pain or hematuria.

Laboratory Tests:

  • Complete Blood Count (CBC): To assess for anemia, infection, or bleeding disorders.
    • Renal Function Tests (Serum Creatinine, Blood Urea Nitrogen): To evaluate kidney function and assess baseline renal function.
    • Urinalysis: To detect urinary tract infections, hematuria, or proteinuria.
    • Urine Culture: To identify any urinary tract infections, which may need to be treated before surgery.

Imaging Studies:

  • Ultrasound: To assess kidney size, shape, and presence of hydronephrosis.
    • Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP) or CT Urogram: To visualize the urinary tract anatomy, identify the site and severity of the obstruction, and assess the function of the affected kidney.
    • Magnetic Resonance Urography (MRU): To provide detailed imaging of the urinary tract and surrounding structures, particularly useful for evaluating complex cases or in patients with contraindications to CT contrast.

Renal Scan (DTPA, MAG3): Nuclear medicine renal scans may be performed to assess renal function, drainage, and differential function between the affected and unaffected kidneys.

Cardiac Evaluation: Depending on the patient’s age and comorbidities, cardiac evaluation may be necessary to assess cardiac function and clearance for surgery.

Anesthetic Evaluation: A preoperative anesthesia evaluation is conducted to assess the patient’s fitness for surgery, evaluate for any anesthetic risks, and optimize perioperative management.

Medication Management: Review and adjustment of medications, particularly anticoagulants or antiplatelet agents, to minimize bleeding risks during surgery.

Informed Consent: The risks, benefits, and alternatives of pyeloplasty surgery should be thoroughly discussed with the patient, and informed consent should be obtained.

Preoperative Instructions: Provide the patient with preoperative instructions, including fasting guidelines, medication management, and any specific preparations for surgery.

Preoperative Optimization: Depending on the findings of the preoperative evaluation, interventions may be required to optimize the patient’s medical condition before surgery, such as treatment of infections, management of hypertension or diabetes, or renal protective measures.

Psychosocial Assessment: Consideration of psychosocial factors that may impact the patient’s ability to adhere to postoperative instructions and recovery, such as social support, transportation, and home environment.

By conducting a thorough preoperative evaluation, healthcare providers can identify any potential risks or contraindications to surgery, optimize the patient’s medical condition, and ensure a safe and successful outcome following pyeloplasty operation.

Post operative instructions and follow up

Postoperative care and follow-up after pyeloplasty are essential to ensure optimal recovery and monitor for any potential complications. Here are typical postoperative instructions and follow-up recommendations:

  • Hospital Stay: The length of hospital stay varies depending on the surgical technique used (open, laparoscopic, or robot-assisted) and the patient’s recovery progress. Patients undergoing minimally invasive pyeloplasty may require a shorter hospital stay compared to open surgery.
  • Pain Management: Patients are prescribed pain medications to manage postoperative discomfort. They should take medications as directed and report any severe or worsening pain to their healthcare provider.
  • Activity Restrictions: Patients are advised to avoid strenuous activities, heavy lifting, and driving for a specified period following surgery. Gradual return to normal activities is typically recommended, guided by the surgeon’s instructions.
  • Diet and Fluid Intake: Patients are encouraged to maintain adequate hydration and follow a balanced diet. Dietary restrictions may be recommended initially, such as avoiding heavy or spicy foods that could irritate the gastrointestinal tract.
  • Wound Care: Patients should keep the surgical incision site clean and dry. Instructions for wound care, such as changing dressings or applying topical medications, may be provided. Patients should report any signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or drainage from the incision site.
  • Follow-up Appointments: Patients are scheduled for follow-up appointments with their surgeon to monitor postoperative recovery, assess surgical outcomes, and address any concerns. The timing of follow-up appointments varies but may include visits within the first few weeks to months after surgery.
  • Imaging Studies: Follow-up imaging studies, such as ultrasound, CT scan, or intravenous pyelogram (IVP), may be scheduled to evaluate the success of the pyeloplasty Operation, assess for resolution of hydronephrosis, and monitor kidney function.
  • Medication Management: Patients may be prescribed medications, such as antibiotics or pain relievers, to be taken after discharge. They should adhere to medication instructions and report any adverse effects or concerns to their healthcare provider.
  • Activity Graduation: Patients are typically advised to gradually increase physical activity and resume normal daily activities as tolerated. However, strenuous exercise and heavy lifting should be avoided during the initial recovery period.
  • Symptom Monitoring: Patients should be educated on signs and symptoms of potential complications, such as fever, worsening pain, difficulty urinating, or changes in urine color or output. They should promptly report any concerning symptoms to their healthcare provider.
  • Patient Education: Patients and caregivers should receive education regarding postoperative care, signs of complications, and instructions for seeking medical attention if needed.
  • Resumption of Work: The timing for returning to work varies depending on the nature of the patient’s job, the extent of surgery, and individual recovery progress. Patients should discuss return-to-work guidelines with their surgeon.

Following these postoperative instructions and attending scheduled follow-up appointments are crucial for ensuring a successful recovery and optimal outcomes after pyeloplasty. It’s essential for patients to communicate openly with their healthcare provider and seek guidance if they have any questions or concerns during the postoperative period.

Long term rsults of pyeloplasty operations: Pyeloplasty Operation

Long-term results of pyeloplasty operation are generally favorable, with the majority of patients experiencing resolution of symptoms, improvement in kidney function, and prevention of further kidney damage. Here are some key aspects of the long-term outcomes of pyeloplasty:

  • Symptom Relief: Pyeloplasty effectively relieves symptoms associated with ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction, such as flank pain, urinary tract infections, and hematuria. Patients typically experience long-term relief from these symptoms following successful surgery.
  • Preservation of Kidney Function: By removing the obstruction and restoring normal urine flow from the kidney to the bladder, pyeloplasty helps preserve kidney function and prevent further deterioration. Long-term follow-up studies have demonstrated stable or improved kidney function in the majority of patients after pyeloplasty.
  • Prevention of Complications: Pyeloplasty helps prevent complications associated with UPJ obstruction, such as hydronephrosis, renal colic, and recurrent urinary tract infections. Long-term surveillance is important to monitor for any signs of recurrent obstruction or complications, although these are relatively uncommon after successful pyeloplasty.
  • Quality of Life: Improved urinary drainage and resolution of symptoms contribute to a better quality of life for patients who undergo pyeloplasty. Studies have shown significant improvements in health-related quality of life measures following successful surgery.
  • Durability of Surgical Repair: Pyeloplasty Operation are generally durable, with low rates of recurrence of UPJ obstruction in the long term. However, occasional cases of recurrent obstruction or development of secondary strictures may occur, necessitating further intervention in some patients.
  • Pregnancy Outcomes: Successful pyeloplasty can improve fertility and pregnancy outcomes in women with UPJ obstruction. Women who have undergone pyeloplasty may have successful pregnancies with reduced risk of complications related to kidney function or urinary tract obstruction.
  • Overall Prognosis: The overall prognosis following pyeloplasty is excellent, particularly when performed by experienced surgeons in appropriate patient candidates. The procedure is associated with low rates of complications and high success rates in relieving symptoms and preserving kidney function over the long term.
  • Follow-Up Care: Long-term follow-up care is essential for monitoring kidney function, assessing for any signs of recurrent obstruction or complications, and addressing any ongoing urinary symptoms. Patients who have undergone pyeloplasty should continue to receive regular follow-up with their urologist to ensure optimal long-term outcomes.

In summary, pyeloplasty is a highly effective treatment for UPJ obstruction, offering long-term relief of symptoms, preservation of kidney function, and improvement in quality of life for patients. With appropriate surgical technique and comprehensive postoperative care, the majority of patients can expect excellent long-term results following pyeloplasty.


Pyeloplasty Operation is a surgical procedure performed to correct a blockage or narrowing at the ureteropelvic junction (UPJ), where the kidney connects to the ureter. This obstruction can lead to urine backup, causing pain and potential kidney damage. During pyeloplasty Operation, the surgeon removes the narrowed or obstructed part of the UPJ and reconstructs the urinary tract to restore proper urine flow from the kidney to the bladder. The procedure can be performed through traditional open surgery or minimally invasive techniques such as laparoscopy or robot-assisted surgery. Pyeloplasty aims to relieve symptoms, preserve kidney function, and improve overall urinary health.

Prof. Dr. Emin ÖZBEK


Istanbul- TURKEY

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