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:
Blood in the urine
Pain in the back or upper abdomen, often when drinking fluids
Slow growth in babies
Urinary tract infection accompanied by a fever
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.
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