Robot-assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty (RALP) in children with horseshoe kidneys: results of a multicentric study

World J Urol. 2019 Oct;37(10):2257-2263. doi: 10.1007/s00345-019-02632-x. Epub 2019 Jan 14.


Purpose: This multicentric study aimed to report our experience with robot-assisted laparoscopic pyeloplasty (RALP) in children with horseshoe kidney (HSK).

Methods: The records of 14 patients (11 boys and 3 girls with an average age of 9 years), who underwent RALP for repair of pelvi-ureteric junction obstruction (PUJO) in HSK in five international pediatric urology units over a 5-year period, were retrospectively reviewed. A dismembered pyeloplasty with no division of isthmus was performed in all the cases.

Results: The average operative time including docking was 143.5 min (range 100-205). No conversions to laparoscopy or open surgery or intra-operative complications occurred. Patients were discharged on postoperative day 2 following catheter and drain removal. The JJ stent was removed at mean 33 days postoperatively. Overall success rate was 92.8%. As for postoperative complications, we recorded a urinary tract infection (UTI) and stent-related irritative symptoms, managed with medical therapy, in two patients (II Clavien) and an anastomotic stricture in one patient needing surgical revision with no further recurrence (IIIb Clavien). At follow-up, all the patients (one after redo-surgery) reported complete resolution of symptoms, improvement of hydronephrosis on ultrasound and no residual obstruction on diuretic renogram.

Conclusions: Our experience suggested that RALP in HSK is safe, feasible and with good medium-term outcomes in expert hands. An accurate pre-operative planning associated with a standardized technique is key points to achieve good surgical and functional outcomes in these challenging cases. The da Vinci robot technology offers the advantages of MIS procedures and overcomes the technical challenges of laparoscopic approach.

Keywords: Children; Complications; Horseshoe kidney; Pyeloplasty; Robot; Technique.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Fused Kidney / complications*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Pelvis / surgery*
  • Laparoscopy / methods*
  • Male
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Robotic Surgical Procedures*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Ureteral Obstruction / complications*
  • Ureteral Obstruction / surgery*
  • Urologic Surgical Procedures / methods