Ureteral Obstruction

As a resident of Central Massachusetts, you and your family can rely on UMass Memorial’s urology experts to diagnose and treat a wide variety of urologic conditions in men, women and children.

One of these potentially life-threatening conditions is ureteral obstruction.

What is Ureteral Obstruction?

A ureteral obstruction is a blockage in one or both of the tubes (ureters) that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. If not treated, it can cause pain, fever and infection, which can lead to loss of kidney function, sepsis (blood poisoning) and even death.

What Causes Ureteral Obstruction?

The most common causes of ureteral obstruction include:

  • Vascular disease
  • Conditions of the female reproductive system, such as pregnancy, endometriosis and uterine prolapse
  • Diseases of the gastrointestinal tract, such as Crohn's disease, inflammatory disease of the appendix, diverticulitis and pancreatic lesions
  • Diseases of the abdominal space known as the retroperitoneum that contains the kidneys and associated structures, pancreas, and part of the aorta and inferior vena cava (a large vein)

Treatment For Ureteral Obstruction Available at UMass Memorial

Fortunately, the urology specialists at UMass Memorial have the specialized experience to treat ureteral obstruction. Treatment is aimed at removing blockages, if possible, or bypassing the blockage to help repair any damage to the kidneys.

  • Drainage procedures to remove urine from the body
  • Endoscopic surgery, a minimally invasive procedure in which a lighted scope is passed through the urethra to the site of the blockage and a stent is placed in the ureter to keep it open
  • Other surgical procedures that may be performed via traditional open surgery, laparoscopically or with robotic assistance
  • Medications to treat any infections that result from the blockage

Based on your overall health and severity of your condition, your urologist will determine the type of procedure and best surgical approach for your individual situation.