Iatrogenic ureteric injuries: Incidence, aetiological factors and the effect of early management on subsequent outcome

Khaleel A. Al-Awadi, Elijah O. Kehinde, Adel Al-Hunayan, Ahmed Al-Khayat

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To investigate the changing pattern in incidence, aetiological factors and the effect of early diagnosis and surgical treatment on the outcome of iatrogenic ureteric injuries in our Urology Unit over a 5 year period. Patients/Methods: All patients with ureteric injuries caused as a result of any surgical procedures (iatrogenic ureteric injuries) were studied during a 5 year period (1998-2002). Data collected and analysed included yearly incidence of injury, aetiological factors, modalities of treatment and the outcome of management of the injuries. During the study period, our general surgical colleagues had a policy of requesting "J" stent insertion prior to major abdominopelvic surgical procedures. During the same period, in nearly all difficult cases of ureteroscopy (URS) + lithoclast lithotripsy ± Dormia basket, a ureteric catheter or "J" stent was prophylactically inserted by urological surgeons. Results: There were 82 iatrogenic ureteric injuries in 75 patients over the 5 year period. The total number of iatrogenic ureteric injuries declined from 26 (31.7%) in 1998 to 10 (11.8%) in 2002. Urological, obstetrics and gynaecological and general surgical procedures were involved in 69(84.1%), 7(8.7%), and 4(4.9%) of the injuries respectively. The commonest types of injuries encountered were; injury to ureteric mucosa post URS or lithoclast calculi disintegration 34 (41.5%), complete ureteric perforation 15 (18.3%) and false passage 15 (18.3%). The most severe complications encountered were complete ureteric avulsions 3 (3.75%) and loss of ureteral segment 2 (2.4%). The commonest treatment options used were "J" stent insertion or ureteric catheter placement (48, 59.4%), percutaneous nephrostomy (17, 20.7%), laparotomy and removal of suture on tied ureters (5, 6.1%). Two (2.4%) nephrectomies were performed because of poor renal function in one patient and severe damage to a functioning renal unit during a difficult retroperitoneal surgery in another patient. Recognition and treatment of ureteric injuries at the time of surgery was associated with less morbidity compared to those in whom the diagnosis was delayed. The overall successful resolution of ureteric injuries in this series was 77/82 (93.9%). There was no mortality attributable to these ureteric injuries. Conclusion: In our Unit, the incidence of significant iatrogenic ureteric injuries has shown a decline over a 5-year period. We attribute this trend to the prophylactic use of "J" stents or ureteric catheter placement and good surgical technique during major abdomino-pelvic surgeries in our hospital. Endourological procedures are the commonest causes of ureteric injuries. Prompt diagnosis and institution of appropriate corrective surgical procedures often result in a very satisfactory outcome in about 94% of cases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)235-241
Number of pages7
JournalInternational Urology and Nephrology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2005


  • Aetiological factor
  • Iatrogenic
  • Incidence
  • Treatment outcome
  • Ureteric injuries

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology

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