Incidence of iatrogenic ureteral injury after laparoscopic colectomy

Arch Surg. 2012 Mar;147(3):267-71. doi: 10.1001/archsurg.2011.2029.


Objective: To compare the incidence of iatrogenic ureteral injury between laparoscopic and open colectomies at a single institution.

Design: From June 1, 2005, through July 31, 2010, patients were identified from a prospectively maintained database and hospital records were retrospectively reviewed.

Setting: Mount Sinai Medical Center.

Patients: Fourteen patients who underwent colectomy complicated by a ureteral injury.

Main outcome measures: A significant increase in ureteral injuries occurred after laparoscopic vs open procedures (0.66% vs 0.15%, P = .007).

Results: A total of 5729 colectomies were performed during the study period. Fourteen ureteral injuries occurred, resulting in a 0.244% incidence of iatrogenic ureteral injury. Patient demographics demonstrated that 9 injuries (64%) occurred in females and 7 patients (50%) had undergone prior abdominal operations. Operative indications were inflammatory bowel disease (n = 7), diverticulitis (n = 2), and malignant neoplasm (n = 4). Thirteen operations (87%) in this study were elective colectomies, and 7 patients (50%) underwent laparoscopic procedures, with 2 open conversions. Of the 5729 colectomies, 4669 were open and 1060 laparoscopic. Regarding ureteral injuries, no difference was observed in intraoperative identification of ureteral injury in patients who underwent preoperative ureteral stent placement (n = 4) vs those who did not (50% [2 of 4] vs 50% [5 of 10]).

Conclusions: A significant increase was found in the incidence of iatrogenic ureteral injuries with laparoscopy compared with open colectomies. Preoperative stent placement did not ensure intraoperative identification of injury. Female sex and increased operative blood loss appear to predispose patients to injury.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colectomy / adverse effects*
  • Colectomy / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease / epidemiology*
  • Incidence
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Laparoscopy / methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ureter / injuries*