Patients who are born with a blockage of the ureter as it leaves the kidney may have flank pain, nausea, vomiting, or recurrent urinary tract infections. The procedure to open the blockage at the point where the ureter leaves the kidney (ureteropelvic junction, UPJ) can be performed by an open operation using a large incision on the abdomen or side. However, this same operation can be performed using the laparoscopic approach with four, 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch incisions made on the abdomen through which a telescope and dissecting instruments are inserted into the abdomen to perform reconstruction of the point of narrowing or scarring where the ureter attaches to the kidney. A ureteral stent (a tube left inside the ureter to help drain the kidney to the bladder while the operative area heals) will cause blood in the urine and discomfort in the bladder and back area. These symptoms go away when the tube is removed 4 - 6 weeks after the operation.
The laparoscopic UPJ reconstruction operation has less pain after the operation compared to an open operation to perform this same procedure. The success rate for the laparoscopic approach appears to be the same as that for the open surgical procedure. The hospital stay is typically overnight. The recovery time and time to return to regular activities is quick, usually 3 - 4 weeks for complete recovery.