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Ureteral reimplantation is a surgery in which the ureter, the tube that normally connects the kidney to the bladder, is moved to a different part of the organ. It is often performed to prevent urine from backing up to the kidneys, a condition called ureteral reflux. The surgery usually involves disconnecting the ureter and connecting to the muscle on another part of the bladder. Operations are typically performed on young children with frequent urinary tract infections, before any kidney damage has occurred.
The incision in the abdomen made during ureteral reimplantation is typically small. Most of the time, surgeons move the original ureter and do not implant any artificial parts in the body. The laparoscopic surgery, sometimes performed on young boys and girls, typically takes around two or three hours to complete. Pain medication can be given through a tube in the patient’s back, or it may be administered through a needle in a vein. Prescriptions for medicines to control pain are often provided once the child leaves the hospital, which can be up to three days after the surgery.
A catheter is often inserted into the bladder after the procedure. During healing, this helps to drain the urine. It can be left in place, through the abdomen, and stays there for up to seven days after the surgery is performed. Sutures and a plastic dressing are placed on the incision for a few days as well. Ureteral reimplantation usually corrects the problem of fluid backing up to the kidneys, but common problems after the surgery can include bloody urine, bladder spasms, cramping, and frequent urination. Sometimes bladder control is an issue immediately afterwards as well.
Abnormal effects of ureteral reimplantation sometimes occur and children can have a high temperature, be irritable, and not tolerate liquids. Frequent vomiting and not being able to urinate typically require the immediate attention of a doctor. Medications prescribed during recovery from a ureteral implant can cause side effects such as nervousness or rashes, so nurses may have to adjust dosages or change the drugs.
Children can still be prone to urinary tract infections after ureteral reimplantation, so this is something to look out for. Follow-up appointments often include ultrasound and bladder tests. Recovery time can be up to three weeks after the surgery, and normal urination is usually possible once the site has healed. If the procedure is not performed and urine continuously backs up into the kidneys, serious infections as well as scarring can result, increasing the chances of one developing hypertension as well as kidney failure later on.