Ureteral Surgery | Treatments & Care

No one wants their child to have to undergo ureteral surgery, but it might help you to know that the caregivers in Boston Children’s Hospital's Department of Urology have a long and distinguished history of surgically repairing problems that affect the ureter and urinary system.Our expert team is committed to ensuring that your experience is as pleasant as possible.

What is the goal of ureteral surgery?

Ureteral surgery is performed to correct problems in your child’s ureter and allow urine to flow properly.

Is there anything we need to do to prepare for the surgery?

Your child’s doctor will give you a packet of information about what to do and not in the days leading up to your child’s surgery. These instructions include how long before the surgery your child should refrain from eating and drinking, when you should arrive at the pre-op clinic, what you should bring and how long you should expect to remain in the hospital.

What happens during the surgery?

It depends on your child’s condition. If your child has a blockage in her ureter, our surgeons disconnect your child’s ureter from his bladder, remove the blockage and then surgically re-position (reimplant) the ureter in the bladder wall.

If your child has severe VUR, the surgeon will reconstruct the junction of the bladder and the ureter to prevent urine from flowing backward into the kidney.

How does robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery work?

Your child’s surgeon will insert instruments into his abdomen through small punctures, which are then used to perform the reconstructive procedures under the guidance of a small camera, also inserted through an incision.

How does traditional open surgery work?

In an open procedure, the surgeon makes an incision in the abdomen to expose your child’s bladder.

Which method is better?

Laparoscopic surgery reduces the size of the incision, the amount of pain and the time your child will need to stay in the hospital, while traditional open surgery is a time-tested method of correcting these conditions with very few complications. Your doctor will discuss with you which option is better for your child.

How long will recovery take?

It depends upon which procedure your child has. Children who have robotic-assisted laparoscopic surgery typically spend a day or two in the hospital, while children who have the traditional open procedure will spend three or four days in the hospital after surgery.

What should we expect after surgery?

Your child will most likely not feel very well when he is discharged from the hospital. This is entirely normal and full recovery from the surgery will take several days. Your nurse will give you a packet of information about how to care for your child in the days after the surgery.

I’m worried about my child’s recovery. Should I call the surgeon?

Absolutely. Call your child’s surgeon with any questions or if he experiences:

  • temperature over 101.0°F
  • excessive bleeding or rapid swelling
  • pain not relieved by prescribed pain medications

What makes your approach unique?

For most children, we take a conservative approach, which includes monitoring their condition through imaging as well as sometimes prescribing a course of antibiotics to prevent the urinary tract infections that can be caused by these ureteral problems.

Should your child’s doctor deem that he need surgery, Boston Children’s surgeons have vast experience in both traditional open and minimally invasive robotic-assisted surgical procedures. You’ll meet with your child’s doctor and work together to design a customized plan of treatment that fits your child and his condition.

Boston Children's pioneered the use of robotic surgery for complex procedures through small incisions, reducing pain, recovery time, and hospital stays. Today we perform more pediatric robotic surgeries than any other hospital in the world, and train physicians around the country to do them.

Coping and support

We understand that you may be worried about your child’s surgery. But there are lots of resources available for your whole family—within Boston Children’s, in the outside community and online.

Our story: ureter reimplantation and megaureter repair

My son, Luke Dangel, was admitted to Children’s Hospital Boston last September for ureter reimplantation and megaureter repair on his left side, which, while routine surgery at Children’s, was understandably scary and intimidating for us. Beyond the obvious skill and competence of everyone who interacted with Luke during his subsequent seven-day recovery, my husband and I were fully impressed and incredibly grateful for the compassion and care we received.