Iatrogenic ureteral injury during colorectal surgery has a significant impact on patient outcomes: a French multicentric retrospective cohort study

Colorectal Dis. 2023 Jul;25(7):1433-1445. doi: 10.1111/codi.16630. Epub 2023 May 30.


Aim: The long-term urological sequelae after iatrogenic ureteral injury (IUI) during colorectal surgery are not clearly known. The aims of this work were to report the incidence of IUI and to analyse the long-term consequences of urological late complications and their impact on oncological results of IUI occurring during colorectal surgery through a French multicentric experience (GRECCAR group).

Method: All the patients who presented with IUI during colorectal surgery between 2010 and 2019 were retrospectively included. Patients with ureteral involvement needing en bloc resection, delayed ureteral stricture or noncolorectal surgery were not considered.

Results: A total of 202 patients (93 men, mean age 63 ± 14 years) were identified in 29 centres, corresponding to 0.32% of colorectal surgeries (n = 63 562). Index colorectal surgery was mainly oncological (n = 130, 64%). IUI was diagnosed postoperatively in 112 patients (55%) after a mean delay of 11 ± 9 days. Intraoperative diagnosis of IUI was significantly associated with shorter length of stay (21 ± 22 days vs. 34 ± 22 days, p < 0.0001), lower rates of postoperative hydronephrosis (2% vs. 10%, p = 0.04), anastomotic complication (7% vs. 22.5%, p = 0.002) and thromboembolic event (0% vs. 6%, p = 0.02) than postoperative diagnosis of IUI. Delayed chemotherapy because of IUI was reported in 27% of patients. At the end of the follow-up [3 ± 2.6 years (1 month-13 years)], 72 patients presented with urological sequalae (36%). Six patients (3%) required a nephrectomy.

Conclusion: IUI during colorectal surgery has few consequences for the patients if recognized early. Long-term urological sequelae can occur in a third of patients. IUI may affect oncological outcomes in colorectal surgery by delaying adjuvant chemotherapy, especially when the ureteral injury is not diagnosed peroperatively.

Keywords: chemotherapy; colorectal surgery; ureteral injury; ureteral stent.

MeSH terms

  • Abdominal Injuries* / etiology
  • Aged
  • Colorectal Surgery* / adverse effects
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures* / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Iatrogenic Disease / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ureter* / injuries
  • Ureter* / surgery