Iatrogenic ureteral injury in colorectal cancer surgery: a nationwide study comparing laparoscopic and open approaches

Surg Endosc. 2015 Jun;29(6):1406-12. doi: 10.1007/s00464-014-3814-1. Epub 2014 Aug 26.


Background: Iatrogenic ureteral injury is a rare complication in colorectal surgery. We aimed to investigate the risk of ureteral injury among patients with colorectal cancer operated on with curative intent in Denmark with laparoscopic and open technique.

Method: The study was based on the Danish National Colorectal Cancer database (DCCG) and included patients treated with intended curative resection for colorectal cancer between 2005 and 2011. From the DCCG database, we extracted data on intraoperative urinary tract injuries. To identify urinary tract injuries not recognized at the time of surgery but within 30 days after surgery, we cross-linked data with the National Patient Registry. All ureteral injuries were confirmed by medical record review. Data were analyzed separately for colon and rectal cancer.

Results: A total of 18,474 patients had a resection for colorectal cancer. Eighty-two ureteral injuries were related to colorectal surgery. The rate of ureteral injuries in the entire cohort was 0.44 %, with 37 (0.59 %) injuries in the laparoscopic group (n = 6,291) and 45 (0.37 %) injuries in the open group (n = 12,183), (P = 0.03). No difference in ureteral injury was found in relation to surgical approach in colon cancer patients. In rectum cancer patients (n = 5,959), the laparoscopic approach was used in 1,899 patients, and 19 (1.00 %) had ureteral injuries, whereas 17 (0.42 %) of 4,060 patients who underwent an open resection had a ureteral injury. In multivariate analysis adjusted for age, gender, ASA score, BMI, tumor stage, preoperative chemo-radiation, calendar year, and specialty of the surgeon, the laparoscopic approach was associated with an increased risk of ureteral injury, OR = 2.67; 95 % CI 1.26-5.65.

Conclusion: In this nationwide study laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer with curative intent was associated with a significantly increased risk of iatrogenic ureteral injury compared to open surgery.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Colectomy / adverse effects*
  • Colectomy / methods
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Denmark
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications / etiology*
  • Laparoscopy / adverse effects*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Rectum / surgery*
  • Ureter / injuries*