Vesicoureteral Reflux (VUR) in Children

  • In normal kidney-bladder function, urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder. In children with vesicoureteral reflux (VUR), the urine flows backwards from the bladder up toward the kidneys. As a result, children with VUR are at risk for kidney infections and may develop kidney damage. If your child has been diagnosed with vesicoureteral reflux, we are here to help. Our Department of Urology is staffed with caring and experienced pediatric physicians dedicated to providing your child with personalized and state-of-the-art urologic care.

    VUR Facts:

    • VUR affects about 1 percent of children.
    • Many children will grow out of their VUR.
    • Urine is normally sterile. When bacteria get into the bladder, a urinary tract infection, or (UTI) may result. In children with VUR, those bacteria can get to the kidneys more easily, resulting in a kidney infection.
    • A kidney infection can be a serious illness, with high fever, nausea, vomiting or pain. Kidney infections can also lead to damage (scarring) of the kidney.
    • To prevent infections in children with VUR, most children take low-dose antibiotics once a day to keep their urine sterile.
    • The goal of treatment in children with VUR is to prevent kidney infections and kidney damage.
    • Some children with VUR need surgery to correct the condition, prevent infection and protect the kidneys.

    Our approach

    Boston Children’s team of urology physicians takes a conservative approach to VUR. Most children will outgrow their VUR on their own, and we give them a chance to do just that. To protect children with VUR from infection, we prescribe preventive antibiotics as an essential component of our treatment.
    Surgery is recommended to correct VUR when:

    • urinary tract or kidney infections continue despite preventive antibiotics.
    • VUR does not resolve on its own.
    • VUR is severe and unlikely to resolve.

    If surgery is necessary, your child will have access to the latest procedures. Families from across the world come to Boston Children’s Department of Urology for their child’s care. Our doctors pioneered the use of minimally invasive surgical techniques including robotic, laparoscopic and endoscopic surgeries, for use with patients with VUR. Your doctor will recommend the surgical option that is right for your child.

    Learn more about the Boston Children’s Vesicoureteral Reflux Program.

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