Robotic Pyeloplasty | Urology | Loyola Medicine

Robotic Pyeloplasty

Overview of Robotic Pyeloplasty

Robotic pyeloplasty is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat obstructions in the utereropelvic junction (the area where the ureter and pelvis meet). When this area is blocked, the flow of urine from the kidney is slowed or stopped, allowing it to accumulate and damage the kidney.

Traditionally, this surgery has been performed as an “open” procedure, with a long incision made under the rib. In robotic pyeloplasty, several small incisions are made around the affected area, a technique that results in less scarring and blood loss and a short hospital stay.

Robotic-assisted equipment and technology allows our urologic specialists, including laparoscopic and robotic surgeons, anesthesiologists and operating room technicians to perform surgery with greater control and flexibility. Operating through small incisions, movements by the surgeon's hand or wrist are translated into highly precise movements of the robot’s surgical instruments.

Why Choose Loyola for Robotic Pyeloplasty?

Loyola is widely recognized as one of the top urology programs nationwide. As part of an academic medical center, Loyola’s expert clinicians perform and teach the latest surgical techniques and medical treatments in numerous locations across the Chicago area. Loyola’s urologic surgeons have advanced training in treating the most complicated conditions. We frequently treat patients who have been transferred to our center because of our widely renowned expertise.

What to Expect with Robotic Pyeloplasty

During the robotic pyeloplasty procedure, the patient is given anesthesia and remains unconscious for the duration of the surgery. The surgeon starts by placing a stent to bypass the obstruction and relieve pressure and urine from the affected kidney. The surgeon then makes several small (laparoscopic) incisions in the abdomen from a remote control console next to the operating table. A telescopic lens is inserted into one of these small holes, enabling the surgeon to see a magnified, 3D view of the area surrounding the bladder. He/she is able to precisely control movements of the robot’s surgical instruments to repair the kidney through intuitive technology that translates movements from his/her hand and wrist to the robotic instruments. The obstructed area is identified and excised, and the renal pelvis and ureter ends are reconnected with sutures. The surgeon may also place a drain around the surgical site, which is removed in the following 24-28 hours.

The surgery typically takes around two to three hours and the patient is discharged (depending on their condition) the next day. The stent that was placed prior to surgery will be removed in four weeks in a postoperative visit. 

Side Effects of Robotic Pyeloplasty

The short-term side effects of robotic pyeloplasty are minor and may include:

  • Constipation/cramps
  • Nausea
  • Poor appetite
  • Fatigue
  • Pain around the incision site or shoulder that can be managed with over-the-counter medication
  • Breathing issues (your doctor will give you breathing exercises to prevent pulmonary infections)

Risks of Robotic Pyeloplasty

Any major surgery has associated risks, including bleeding, infection, pain and reactions to anesthesia. Other potential complications of robotic pyeloplasty include: