Retroperitoneal laparoscopic pyeloplasty in children: long-term outcome and critical analysis of 10-year experience in a teaching center

Eur Urol. 2013 Mar;63(3):565-72. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2012.07.051. Epub 2012 Aug 11.


Background: Laparoscopic pyeloplasty in children remains controversial and is not included in most pediatric urology centers because of technical difficulties and lack of long-term results.

Objective: To critically analyze our 10-yr experience with the retroperitoneal approach (RA), with a particular interest on the impact of the learning curve in a teaching center.

Design, setting, and participants: Patients who underwent pyeloplasty between 1999 and 2010 at our institution were reviewed (n=390). The diagnosis of ureteropelvic junction obstruction was confirmed by ultrasound and technetium Tc 99m mercaptoacetyltriglycine-3 renal scan or magnetic resonance imaging; the same criteria were used to evaluate the outcome. The lateral RA was selected in children >1 yr of age without abnormal migration or fusion of the kidney (n=104).

Surgical procedure: Dismembered pyeloplasty and anastomosis were performed using running monofilament 5-0 or 6-0 absorbable suture. All were drained by double-J stent except 20 cases drained by external transanastomotic stent.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: We assessed intra- and postoperative morbidity and analyzed the teaching of technique and learning curve. Data are expressed as medians and interquartile range (25th, 75th percentiles) for quantitative variables.

Results and limitations: Median age was 6.2 yr (2.2-10.3). Thirty-three patients had crossing vessels. Median operative time was 185 min (160-235). Median hospital stay was 2 d (1-2). Redo pyeloplasty was needed in only two children (2%). Median follow-up was 2.1 yr (1.4-4.1). Operative time was <3 h after 35 cases. After 30 cases performed by the same surgeon, standardization of the technique was feasible, which helped in the teaching process because 50% of the final 30 cases were done by trainees.

Conclusions: Retroperitoneal dismembered laparoscopic pyeloplasty is a safe, reliable, and efficient procedure with an excellent outcome in selected children according to their indications and age, and the experience of the surgical team. Even if the transmission to trainees is successful, it is still a long learning process and remains a challenging task for a teaching center.

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Kidney / surgery
  • Kidney Pelvis / surgery
  • Laparoscopy / education*
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Laparoscopy / standards
  • Male
  • Medical Staff, Hospital / education
  • Operative Time
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / education*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / methods*
  • Reconstructive Surgical Procedures / standards
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Retroperitoneal Space / surgery*
  • Ureter / surgery
  • Ureteral Obstruction / surgery*