Is upj obstruction serious


Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction happens when the realm connecting the renal pelvis (a part of the kidney) to one in every of two tubes that join with the bladder (ureter) turns into blocked, inflicting urine to construct up, which damages the kidneys. A UPJ obstruction can even happen if a blood vessel is positioned incorrectly over the ureter.


UPJ is normally current at start (congenital) and is most steadily recognized throughout a prenatal ultrasound. If undiagnosed after start, the kid might have an stomach mass or urinary tract an infection. When UPJ happens in older kids or adults, it’s normally because of scar tissue, abnormalities in muscular tissues underneath the scar tissue, kidney stones, an infection, or earlier therapies or surgical procedures for a blockage. An obstruction additionally could be brought on by compression of the UPJ by a blood vessel or irregularities within the fibrous bands across the ureter.

If undiagnosed or left untreated, continual UPJ obstruction can result in vital kidney injury and the gradual lack of kidney perform. That is very true of sufferers who’re recognized later in life. Urinary tract infections develop into frequent and could be extra serious than ordinary. Kidney stones within the urine that acquire within the urinary tract as the results of blockage additionally develop into much more frequent.

Signs of UPJ Obstructions

Signs of UPJ obstructions embrace:

  • The renal pelvis and/or kidneys are dilated (hydronephrosis)
  • Urinary tract an infection
  • Stomach mass
  • Vomiting
  • Poor progress in infants (failure to thrive)
  • Again ache
  • Flank ache


A renal ultrasound is used to detect a UPJ obstruction prenatally. Additional imaging checks can also be obligatory relying on outcomes of the ultrasound.

After start (postnatally), a variety of checks are used to diagnose such obstructions, together with:

  • Urinalysis and tradition
  • Full blood depend (CBC)
  • Nuclear scan of kidneys
  • Voiding cystourethrogram
  • CT Scan
  • Diuretic renal scan, through which a small quantity of radioactive materials is injected right into a vein and kidney perform is measured utilizing the scanned pictures of the organ because it removes the radioactive materials from the blood


Surgical procedure is normally required if a UPJ obstruction is affecting kidney perform. Both endoscopic strategies or open surgical procedure can be utilized, though adults are higher candidates for endoscopic procedures. Although the success price for endoscopy is decrease, the chance of problems is much less, and restoration time is shorter. In each surgical strategies the ureter is lower to take away the blockage, then reattached to the renal pelvis.

As a result of there could be problems ensuing from surgical restore of UPJ obstructions, common follow-up visits with a doctor are obligatory.


To stop an infection, a doctor might prescribe antibiotics for a new child with UPJ obstruction, along with a renal ultrasound each three to 6 months to observe the situation.

If a UPJ obstruction begins to trigger a noticeable discount in renal perform, a pyeloplasty could also be beneficial. A pyeloplasty is a surgical process that removes scar tissue from the blocked space, then connects the wholesome a part of the kidney to the wholesome ureter. Eradicating the obstruction improves urine move and reduces the potential for kidney injury. Till the affected person heals, a tube (stent) could also be inserted to empty urine from the kidney.

Comply with-up care is critical for a number of years after pyeloplasty, in addition to common testing to guage kidney perform each 6 months to a yr. Although there are some potential problems, there is a wonderful success price with this process.

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What’s ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction?

Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is a blockage within the renal pelvis of the kidney. The renal pelvis is situated on the higher finish of every ureter (tube that drains urine from the kidneys to the bladder). The renal pelvis, which is formed like a funnel, collects urine.

In regular instances, every of the 2 kidneys has one ureter. The kidneys filter the blood of waste matter and extra water, creating urine. The urine is pooled on the UPJ, after which flows down the ureters to the bladder.

In UPJ obstruction, the move of urine is slowed or stopped utterly. This raises the chance of kidney injury. Typically of UPJ obstruction, solely one of many kidneys is affected.

How frequent is ureteropelvic (UPJ) junction obstruction?

UPJ obstruction happens in about one in every of each 1,500 births, and is answerable for about 80% of all swollen urine-collecting methods. Males are affected at greater than double the speed of females, and the left kidney is affected about twice as typically as the precise.

Signs and Causes

What are the signs of ureteropelvic junction obstruction?

  • Lump within the stomach.
  • Urinary tract an infection with fever.
  • Ache within the higher stomach or again, normally after ingesting fluids. The ache is brought on by the backup of urine putting stress on the kidney and surrounding tissue. In some instances, ache might come and go as a result of the blockage isn’t full, permitting urine to move at instances. In different situations, blockage might happen solely when the particular person is standing upright however not when mendacity down.
  • Kidney stones.
  • Blood within the urine.
  • Vomiting.
  • Poor progress in an toddler.

What causes ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction?

Most UPJ obstructions are current at start, a sign that buildings of the ureter or kidney didn’t kind accurately because the fetus was growing.

In some instances an inherited tendency to obstructions will run in a household, however normally an obstruction seems in only a single member of the family.

A variety of various kinds of obstructions could also be current at start, comparable to:

  • The opening of the ureter is simply too slender.
  • There are errors within the quantity or association of small-muscle cells within the ureter. These cells are answerable for the muscular contractions that push urine from the kidney right down to the bladder.
  • Uncommon folds within the partitions of the ureter might act as valves.
  • Twists might kind alongside the trail of the ureter.
  • The ureter connects to the renal pelvis in too excessive a place, creating an irregular angle between the ureter and kidney.
  • An irregular crossing of blood vessels can press on or distort the UPJ.

Much less steadily, UPJ obstructions might kind in adults on account of kidney stones, higher urinary tract infections, surgical procedure, an abnormally crossing blood vessel or swelling within the urinary tract.

Prognosis and Exams

How is ureteropelvic (UPJ) junction obstruction recognized earlier than and after start?

  • An ultrasound examination earlier than a child is born can present a UPJ obstruction. As urine will get backed up because of blockage, the kidney swells past its regular dimension, a situation often called hydronephrosis.
  • As soon as the infant is born, checks that measure how nicely urine is being produced and drained embrace:
    • Blood samples and urine samples comparable to blood urea nitrogen (BUN) and creatinine checks present clues on how nicely the kidneys are filtering the blood.
    • An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) injects a dye into the bloodstream that’s then traced by X-ray because it flows by means of the kidney, renal pelvis and ureter.
    • A nuclear renal scan makes use of a radioactive substance as an alternative of a dye, and could be traced with a particular digital camera. This exhibits the functioning of the kidney and the way a lot blockage could also be current.
  • Ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans can present obstructions within the kidney, in addition to the construction of the kidneys, ureters and bladder.

Administration and Therapy

How is ureteropelvic junction obstruction handled?

In lots of infants with UPJ obstruction, the situation might enhance by itself inside the first 18 months of life. Throughout this time, repeated ultrasounds and scans are used to observe the situation to ensure it is not going to trigger lasting hurt.

If urine move doesn’t enhance and the obstruction stays after the primary 18 months of life, surgical procedure is normally wanted to repair the issue. In infants, the surgical procedure most frequently used is known as open pyeloplasty. On this process the UPJ is eliminated, and the ureter is reattached to the renal pelvis however with a wider opening. The aim of the surgical procedure is to permit urine to empty freely, eradicate signs and cut back the possibilities of an infection.

Minimally invasive pyeloplasty makes use of a laparoscope, a protracted skinny tube requiring only a small incision by means of which the surgeon or a robotic operates surgical instruments.

Another choice is to insert a wire by means of the ureter to succeed in the positioning of the UPJ obstruction internally. The wire is then used to chop the obstruction and a drain is inserted for just a few weeks throughout therapeutic. This process doesn’t require any incisions and entails much less discomfort than the opposite two choices, however has a decrease success price and should need to be repeated greater than as soon as.

What could be anticipated after therapy for ureteropelvic junction obstruction?

Open pyeloplasty normally takes just a few hours to finish and has a couple of 95% success price. The affected person may have to remain within the hospital for 2 or three days following surgical procedure. A drainage tube could also be inserted into the kidney or ureter to help in urine move whereas therapeutic takes place.

The success price of minimally invasive strategies is on par with open pyeloplasty, however is extra technically demanding of the abilities of the surgeon and depends on affected person age and dimension.


How can ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction be prevented?

Researchers haven’t discovered any hyperlink between a mom’s consuming, weight loss program or vitamin, and the formation of UPJ obstruction in an unborn little one. There doesn’t look like something one can do to stop UPJ obstruction when it is a genetic situation.

In adults not born with UPJ obstruction, decreasing the probabilities for later growth would rely upon avoiding kidney stones, urinary tract infections or trauma to the kidneys.

Final reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical skilled on 10/06/2020.


  • Grasso M III, Caruso RP and Phillips CK: UPJ Obstruction within the Grownup Inhabitants: Are Crossing Vessels Vital? ( Rev Urol. 2001 Winter, 3(1): 42-51. Accessed 11/6/2020.
  • Nationwide Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Ailments. Hydronephrosis in Newborns. ( Accessed 11/6/2020.
  • Al Aaraj MS, Badreldin AM. Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction. ( [Updated 2020 Jul 11]. In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2020 Jan-. Accessed 11/6/2020.

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The ureter is a protracted skinny tubular construction 10-12 inches lengthy which carries urine produced within the kidney to the bladder. The urine is transported by a course of referred to as peristalsis. The ureter actively propels urine from the kidney down into the bladder.

Ureteropelvic junction obstruction is a situation the place blockage happens on the junction the place the ureter attaches to the kidney. This leads to decreased move of urine down the ureter and a rise of fluid stress contained in the kidney. Elevated stress contained in the kidney can over time trigger deterioration of kidney perform. The obstruction could be both congenital (the affected person is born with it) or develop over time secondary to trauma or change in physique form with age. The blockage could be because of scar tissue, kinking, a blood vessel or hardly ever tumor.

Indicators and Signs

Ureteral obstruction could cause flank ache on the effected facet. The ache could also be intermittent and a few sufferers discover elevated ache when ingesting alcohol, espresso or elevated fluids. The ache can typically be within the entrance of the stomach and might radiate right down to the groin. In some situations, the situation is detected accidently on x-rays or ultrasound throughout analysis for unrelated issues. When an infection happens in affiliation with obstruction, sufferers can develop into fairly ailing and have excessive fevers. This situation might require hospitalization, emergency drainage of the urine and therapy with intravenous antibiotics.


The normal therapy for ureteropelvic junction obstruction has been open surgical procedure to chop out the realm of scarring and re-connect the ureter to the kidney. Over the previous a number of years, newer much less invasive therapy choices have been developed.

Endopyelotomy is a process by means of which a telescope or balloon with an electrical wire on it’s handed to the extent of the kidney. The scar tissue is then lower open from the within. These procedures could be carried out in a brief time frame as an outpatient with minimal anesthetic and with a a lot shorter recuperation than with open surgical procedure. Sufferers must hold a short lived inside tube (stent) for 4 to 6 weeks. The radiographic success price with these procedures are 15%-20% decrease than what’s obtained with open surgical procedure. Furthermore, 40% of sufferers might have vital persistent ache following process.

Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty was developed in an effort to give the identical excessive success price obtained with open pyeloplasty whereas lowering the morbidity. The interior process is carried out in the identical method because the open surgical procedure with out the necessity for a big incision. Postoperative ache is much less, recuperation is considerably faster and scarring is minimal compared with open surgical procedure. The process requires a common anesthetic and hospitalization (normally 2 nights). An inside stent can be wanted for 4 weeks. Success with this process is similar as open surgical procedure (>95%).

Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction in Youngsters

Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is a blockage within the space that connects the renal pelvis (a part of the kidney) to one of many tubes (ureters) that transfer urine to the bladder. It usually happens when a child remains to be rising within the womb. That is referred to as a congenital situation (current from start).

More often than not, the blockage is prompted when the connection between the ureter and the renal pelvis narrows. This causes urine to construct up, damaging the kidney.

The situation may also be prompted when a blood vessel is situated within the improper place over the ureter.

UPJ obstruction is probably the most steadily recognized reason behind urinary obstruction in kids. It’s now generally recognized throughout prenatal ultrasound research. In some instances, the situation is not seen till after start.


There might not be any signs. When signs happen, they could embrace:

What’s Ureteropelvic Junction Obstruction?

Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is when a part of the kidney is blocked. Most frequently it’s blocked on the renal pelvis. That is the place the kidney attaches to one of many ureters (the tubes that carry urine to the bladder). The blockage slows or stops the move of urine out of the kidney. Urine can then construct up and injury the kidney. Generally surgical procedure is required to enhance the move of urine and different instances the issue will enhance by itself.

What Occurs underneath Regular Situations?

Kidneys make urine by filtering the blood, and eradicating waste, salts and water. The urine drains from the kidney into the renal pelvis after which into the ureter. Every kidney should have at the least 1 working ureter (some have 2) to hold the urine from the kidney to the bladder.

Diagram of the Male and Feminine Urinary Tracts



Most frequently UPJ obstruction is congenital. Which means that kids are born with this well being situation. It isn’t identified methods to stop it. One in 1,500 kids are born with this downside. The blockage happens because the kidney is forming. At the moment most instances are discovered utilizing ultrasound earlier than start. Although it happens much less typically in adults, UPJ obstruction might occur after kidney stones, surgical procedure or higher urinary tract swelling.

In UPJ obstruction, the kidney makes urine sooner than it may be drained by means of the renal pelvis into the ureter. This causes urine to pool within the kidney, which ends up in kidney swelling (hydronephrosis). Usually, just one kidney is affected. The enlarged kidney is definitely seen on ultrasound. For that reason, a health care provider can typically predict UPJ obstruction earlier than a child is born.


With using ultrasound, most instances are discovered lengthy earlier than start. After start, indicators in infants and youngsters are:

  • stomach mass
  • urinary tract an infection with fever
  • flank ache (ache within the higher stomach or again, largely with fluid consumption)
  • kidney stones
  • bloody urine
  • vomiting
  • poor progress in infants

UPJ obstruction can also trigger ache with out an an infection.

Some instances of UPJ obstruction are usually not clear. Urine might drain usually at instances, and at different instances be blocked. This causes ache that comes and goes. The overall perception is that almost all kids are usually not in ache except the urine turns into contaminated or the blockage will get worse.


Whereas ultrasound helps your physician see the kidneys, extra checks are wanted to verify UPJ obstruction. To make a correct prognosis, your urologist should see how nicely urine is produced and drained. There are a number of checks that may be carried out.

Blood samples and urine samples could also be taken. The BUN (blood urea nitrogen) and creatinine checks discover if the kidney is working nicely because it filters the blood.

An intravenous pyelogram (IVP) was typically used previously. On this take a look at, a dye is injected into the bloodstream. An X-ray is used to see the kidneys take away the dye from the blood. Because the dye passes by means of urine, your physician can see if the kidney, renal pelvis and ureter look regular.

A nuclear renal scan is just like an IVP however is extra fashionable. This take a look at makes use of radioactive materials as an alternative of dye. The fabric could be seen with a particular digital camera. This take a look at provides the physician good details about how the kidney is working and the way a lot blockage there may be.

CT scans are typically used within the emergency room to seek out out why kids are having extreme ache. A CT scan can simply present the obstructed kidney if that’s the reason for the ache. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) can be used to take a look at the kidneys, ureters and the bladder. However MRI is pricey and never used in all places.

Siblings want screening for UPJ obstruction provided that they present indicators. There have been some instances through which a number of members of a household have UPJ obstruction, however the majority of instances are particular person.


Therapy isn’t all the time obligatory, and specialists have totally different opinions. You will need to know that poor drainage in infants and youngsters youthful than 18 months could also be non permanent. Many infants with good kidney perform and poor drainage at first can have a lot enchancment after just a few months. Alternatively, in some infants the obstruction will not enhance it’ll worsen.

Younger sufferers with an enlarged kidney are first adopted with repeat ultrasounds and, if there may be any concern, repeat nuclear scans. Sudden enchancment can happen. In that case, it typically happens within the first 18 months of life. If urine move doesn’t enhance for an toddler and obstruction stays, then surgical procedure is required. Adults might discover therapy in different methods.

Open Surgical procedure

The traditional therapy for infants is an operation referred to as pyeloplasty. On this surgical procedure the UPJ is eliminated, and the ureter is reattached to the renal pelvis to create a large opening. This lets the urine drain shortly and simply. It additionally relieves signs and the chance of an infection. The surgeon’s lower is normally 2 to three inches lengthy, just under the ribs. This course of normally takes just a few hours with a fantastic success price (95% success). The affected person might have to remain within the hospital for a day or 2 after surgical procedure. Drainage tubes can be utilized to advertise therapeutic.

Minimally Invasive Surgical procedure

Newer surgical choices are much less invasive, comparable to:

  1. laparoscopic pyeloplasty with or and not using a surgical robotic, or
  2. inside incision of the UPJ utilizing a digital camera and scope inserted by means of the bladder
Laparoscopic Pyeloplasty

On this technique the surgeon works by means of a small lower within the stomach wall. A surgical robotic can assist information the instruments. The clear benefits of this technique are much less ache and nausea, particularly in older kids and adults. However scarring within the stomach may end up. This therapy has led to very profitable outcomes.

Inner Incision

With this feature a wire is inserted by means of the ureter. This wire is used to chop the tight and slender UPJ from the within. A particular ureteral drain is left in for just a few weeks after which eliminated. The UPJ heals in a extra open method however the surgical procedure might have to be repeated. The success charges are decrease than with open or minimally invasive surgical procedure. However the benefits additionally embrace much less ache and nausea.

After Therapy

Sufferers normally get better shortly. After surgical procedure the ureter could also be swollen for some time. Some have ache for just a few days after surgical procedure. Kidney drainage can even stay poor, however typically will get higher as the realm heals. The physician makes use of ultrasound just a few weeks after surgical procedure to test for hydronephrosis (swollen kidney).

Generally a drainage tube is left in place to assist drain the kidney whereas it heals. The looks of the kidney will enhance with time, although it is not going to look regular.

If the opposite kidney is regular, kids can take part in sports activities or different actions when the blocked kidney responds nicely to therapy. As soon as the UPJ obstruction is mounted, it virtually by no means comes again.

Word that sufferers who’ve had UPJ obrstruction might have a barely larger danger of future kidney stones or an infection. It’s because the kidneys should include some pooled urine, despite the fact that general drainage is improved. Generally a baby who had some obstruction as an toddler, which improved naturally, will later have indicators of obstruction that decision for surgical procedure.