Ureteropelvic junction (UPJ) obstruction is a condition in which a blockage occurs in part of the urinary system. Urine is formed in the kidneys, waste- filtering organs located in the mid-back, just below the rib cage.
The renal pelvis is the part of the kidney where urine is stored after it is produced. From the kidneys, urine flows down the ureters, two thin tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder.
The ureteropelvic junction is the area where the ureter attaches to the renal pelvis of the kidney. When a blockage occurs at the junction, it can decrease the flow of urine down the ureter and cause increased fluid pressure inside the kidney. This increased pressure can impair kidney function over time.
The most common cause of UPJ obstruction is congenital: a person is born with obstruction and develops symptoms over time. Other causes include injury to the area, stone disease, infection, and age-related changes in body shape. Symptoms of UPJ obstruction ma y include intermittent side or back pain and, when infection is involved, high fever.
In recent years, minimally invasive surgical techniques have been developed to treat a UPJ obstruction as an alternative to traditional open surgery.
The obstruction can be managed with a small scope passed through the bladder or through a small incision in the back to cut open the obstruction from the inside of the ureter. In other cases, surgery is needed to remove scar tissue and reconnect the ureter to the kidney.
The Department of Urology specializes in laparascopic pyeloplasty, a surgical procedure in which a laparoscope (a slim tube with a tiny video camera mounted on the end) is inserted into a small incision under the ribcage. While watching the procedure on a TV monitor, the surgeon inserts instruments through other small incisions to repair the obstruction.
Compared to open surgery, laparoscopic pyeloplasty results in reduced postoperative pain, faster recovery, and minimal scarring at the incision sites.
For patient referral or consultations, contact the Department of Urology at 412-692-4100.
Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Supplemental content provided by
A.D.A.M. Health Solutions. All rights reserved.
For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.
UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.
Medical information made available on UPMC.com is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, UPMC.com is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.
For UPMC Mercy Patients: As a Catholic hospital, UPMC Mercy abides by the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care Services, as determined by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. As such, UPMC Mercy neither endorses nor provides medical practices and/or procedures that contradict the moral teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Pittsburgh, PA, USA UPMC.com