Robotic Pyeloplasty is a minimally invasive treatment option for removing the blockage or obstruction that occurs at the ureteropelvic junction (where the kidney meets the ureter). When a blockage occurs at UPJ, it obstructs the urine outflow and brings severe pain to the patient. To clear this obstruction, traditional open surgery needs a long incision in the lower abdomen. Whereas a robotic Pyeloplasty requires small incisions to access the entire operative field and avoids the need for large scar, huge blood loss, and long hospital stays. Once the blockage is removed successfully through this robotic surgery, urine can flow freely from the kidney to the ureter and then to the bladder.
Most often Robotic Pyeloplasty is performed to remove a Ureteropelvic junction obstruction. When the kidney produces the urine, it pools the content in the renal pelvis. Being wide at the top and narrow at the bottom, the renal pelvis funnels the urine into the ureter - the tube which carries the urine to the bladder. The place where the kidney and the ureter meet is known as Ureteropelvic junction. When an obstruction or blockage occurs at this junction, it impedes the flow of urine and causes the build-up of urine in the kidney. This results in swelling of the kidney which can eventually lead to permanent kidney damage. Performing a Robotic Pyeloplasty can help remove the blockage and resume the normal functioning of the urinary tract.
During a robotic pyeloplasty, a tiny camera and specialized surgical instruments are inserted into the patient’s body through several small incisions made in the abdomen. The surgical instruments are controlled by a surgeon who is seating in the operating console a few feet away. With highly precise motion scaling, the affected kidney is dissected and the obstruction is excised. Then the ureter and kidney are sutured back together and the urinary tract is reconstructed. In case if the patient has developed kidney stones due to UPJ obstruction, the stones can be removed through a retrieval device prior to reconnecting the ureter to the kidney. In all cases, a ureteral stent is placed temporarily for healing purpose and removed after 4 weeks.
A robot-assisted Pyeloplasty brings several benefits over the traditional open surgery and has transformed the way surgeons operate and patients recover. Beyond offering enhanced visualization, good dexterity, high precision and accuracy to the surgeons, it brings some major benefits to the patients. Here are a few of them.
There is less of a need to admit the patient in the hospital for very long.
The patient feels less pain and discomfort as the incisions are small.
The blood loss is minimal and avoids the need for blood transfusions.
The likelihood of infection and other complications are less.
The potential for trauma and scarring is less because of the “keyhole” incisions.
The recovery gets hastened and the patient can resume normal activities within several weeks after surgery.
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