What is a Robotic Pyeloplasty?

One of the functions of the kidneys is to produce urine. The urine is collected in an area called the renal pelvis. The renal pelvis is wider at the top and narrower at the bottom, it is designed to funnel the urine into the ureter (the long thin tube which carries urine from the renal pelvis to the bladder for storage).

Ureteropelvic junction obstruction (UPJ obstruction) is a condition where a blockage occurs at the junction where the pelvis and ureter meet (i.e. the base of the funnel). Patients with a UPJ obstruction are unable to pass urine from the kidney into the ureter, resulting in a build up of both urine and pressure inside the renal pelvis and kidney. This can cause pain, kidney stones, and/or decline in the kidney’s function over time.

Many UPJ obstruction patients are born with a predisposition to UPJ obstruction. But for some, it develops over time and could be linked to:

  • Trauma

  • Body growth

  • Scar tissue

  • Ureteral kinks or valves

  • A crossing blood vessel

  • Tumour (rare)

The traditional treatment for UPJ obstruction is a large open surgical incision under the rib to cut out the area of scarring and re-connect the healthy ureter to the renal pelvis.

However, robotic pyeloplasty was developed to give the same high success rate obtained with open pyeloplasty but avoiding the large incision and associated pain.

Robotic pyeloplasty is a state of the art keyhole technique, which is performed in the same manner as the open surgery, except that 4-5 small (< 1 cm) incisions are used instead of a large abdominal incision. This means that patients often experience fast recovery, shorter hospital stay, reduced blood loss and less post-operative pain.

Robotic instruments are inserted through these tiny incisions which allow the surgeon to remove the UPJ obstruction and repair it.

Patients generally return home one day after the procedure.

This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.

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