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Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction

What Is Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction?

Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is a condition where there is a blockage in part of the kidney and urine cannot drain from the kidneys fast enough. The kidneys filter the blood, removing water, salt and waste, which creates urine. Urine flows from the kidney to the ureter to the bladder.

Usually, the blockage occurs at the renal pelvis, where the kidney meets the ureters, which bring urine into the bladder. This blockage can cause urine to back up and damage the kidney.

UPJ obstruction is usually congenital, meaning it is present at birth. Approximately one in 1,500 children is born with this condition and most cases are detected through an ultrasound before the baby is born.

In adults, UPJ obstruction can be caused by kidney stones, upper urinary tract inflammation or surgery.


The symptoms of ureteropelvic junction obstruction include:

  • Abdominal mass

  • Blood in the urine

  • Kidney stones

  • Pain in the back or upper abdomen, often when drinking fluids

  • Slow growth in babies

  • Urinary tract infection accompanied by a fever

  • Vomiting

Treatment Options

Ureteropelvic junction obstruction treatment depends on the symptoms and severity of the case. Sometimes the condition is temporary in children younger than 18 months. Other times, the condition worsens.

If a young patient has an enlarged kidney, he or she will be followed by a doctor and receive ultrasounds and nuclear scans as needed to monitor the condition. Sometimes antibiotics are prescribed to prevent infection.

If the condition does not improve, you may need open (traditional), robotic or minimally invasive surgery to remove the blockage and reconnect the renal pelvis and ureter.

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of uretopelvic junction, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat uretopelvic junction.

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Temple Urology

We offer medication management, minimally invasive procedures, and traditional and robotic-assisted surgery for conditions of the urinary system and male reproductive organs.

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