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HOME > J Korean Soc Traumatol > Volume 21(1); 2008 > Article
Iatrogenic Ureteral Injury: When and How to Treat?
Kang Il Seo, Jong Bouk Lee
Journal of Trauma and Injury 2008;21(1):8-14
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Department of Urology, National Medical Center, Seoul, Korea.

Iatrogenic ureteral injury is a complication that can occur during a variety of pelvic or abdominal surgeries. The most frequent causes are gynecological ones, followed by colon and vascular surgeries. Management of ureteric injury depends on the time of diagnosis and the severity of organ damage. Injuries diagnosed intraoperatively should be treated immediately. Occasionally, intraoperative ureteral injury is overlooked, and symptoms of the late diagnosis of ureteral injury are usually nonspecific; therefore, the diagnosis is delayed for days or weeks postoperatively. Management of injuries diagnosed postoperatively is more complex. There are differing opinions on whether an initial conservative or immediate operative intervention is the best line of action. Delayed repair is suggested on the grounds that it will reduce inflammation and tissue edema. However, many authors are in favor of early repair, perhaps because tissue planes are easier to find before fibrosis becomes too dense. Ureteral injuries occurring at the level of the pelvic brim should be best managed with an end-to-end anastomosis, preferably around a ureteric stent. More distal injuries also should be ideally managed with an end-to-end anastomosis, after excision of the crushed or compromised segments. However, if the remaining distal segment is short, ureteral reimplantation is the procedure of choice. The Boari flap technique for ureteral reimplantation is invaluable in cases with a short proximal segment. Delayed recognition of iatrogenic ureteral injury may be associated with serious complications, so prompt recognition of ureteral injuries is important. Recognition of the injury before closure is the key to easy, successful, and complications-free repair. Increased awareness of the risk for ureteral damage during certain operative maneuvers is vital to prevent injury, and to decrease the incidence of iatrogenic injury. A sound knowledge of abdominal and pelvic anatomy is the best prevention.

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