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Urol Clin North Am. 1998 May;25(2):323-30.

Laparoscopic pyeloplasty. Indications, technique, and long-term outcome.

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James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Baltimore, Maryland, USA.


Laparoscopic pyeloplasty is one of several minimally invasive treatment options for UPJ obstruction. In fact, several endoscopically and fluoroscopically controlled methods of incising the obstructed UPJ are now available that are significantly less invasive and less morbid in comparison with open pyeloplasty. However, the long-term success rates of these incisional techniques are less than the rates reported for open pyeloplasty. Several causes of obstruction may be present in the primarily obstructed UPJ, including kinking or compression related to crossing vessels or intrinsic narrowing at the UPJ. One potential reason for the inferior success rates of incisional methods in comparison with open pyeloplasty is that the former techniques address the intrinsically narrowed UPJ but may not address extrinsic problems such as kinking of the ureter associated with fibrotic bands or compression from crossing vessels. Laparoscopic pyeloplasty addresses all potential causes of obstruction. Any fibrotic bands kinking the ureter are divided, and the ureter is spatulated through the level of the UPJ prior to completion of the anastomosis. If a crossing vessel is encountered, a dismembered pyeloplasty is performed, the ureter and renal pelvis are transposed to the opposite side of the vessels, and the anastomosis is completed. An additional disadvantage of incisional techniques is the significant risk of hemorrhage following incision of the UPJ, with as many as 3% to 11% of patients requiring blood transfusion. Hemorrhage may occur owing to an errant anterior incision, the presence of a crossing vessel, incision into the renal parenchyma adjacent to the UPJ, or as the result of bleeding from the percutaneous access site. In contrast, mean estimated blood loss in the authors' series of 57 laparoscopic pyeloplasties was 139 mL, and none of the patients required blood transfusion. Although it is more morbid in comparison with retrograde or fluoroscopically controlled endopyelotomy, laparoscopic pyeloplasty seems at least comparable to antegrade percutaneous endopyelotomy in terms of the length of hospitalization and patient convalescence. Laparoscopic pyeloplasty, however, offers a higher success rate than with incisional techniques, not only from a radiographic standpoint but from a subjective standpoint as determined by the results of the analogue pain and activity questionnaire. The major disadvantage of laparoscopic pyeloplasty is the need for proficiency in laparoscopic techniques and for a longer operative time. As a result, the literature on laparoscopic pyeloplasty consists primarily of small series. Janetschek and co-workers reported on a series of 17 patients who underwent laparoscopic pyeloplasty, including 14 via a transperitoneal approach and 3 via a retroperitoneal approach. Procedures performed included ureterolysis alone, dismembered pyeloplasty, and nondismembered (Fenger) pyeloplasty. "Fenger-plasty" is similar to Y-V pyeloplasty and is performed by incising the UPJ longitudinally and closing the incision transversely in a Heineke-Mikulicz fashion. Janetschek and colleagues reported a 100% success in the eight patients who underwent dismembered pyeloplasty but believed that this technique was too cumbersome and should be reserved for patients with long stenoses, dorsally crossing vessels, or large renal pelvis. Because two of the four patients undergoing ureterolysis alone failed treatment, Janetschek and colleagues have abandoned this technique. They now prefer the Fenger-plasty technique, even in the setting of ventrally crossing vessels, because the technique can be performed quickly with one to three sutures, and the anastomosis can be sealed with fibrin glue and a flap of Gerota's fascia. Their experience with this technique, however, remains relatively limited. Technologic advances such as the Endostitch device have facilitated reconstructive laparoscopic procedures such as pyeloplasty. (ABSTRACT TRUNCATED)

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