The University of Arizona
Department of Surgery

Ureteral Obstruction

The urinary system is made up of the kidneys, the two tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder — the ureters — and the bladder itself.

Ureteral obstruction occurs when a ureter becomes blocked. The blockage may be a condition present since birth or may be due to scarring from kidney stones or prior surgeries. Less frequently, scarring may be from cancer.

possibly due to a disease like kidney stones or cancer, possibly due to scarring from prior surgeries or possibly due to some condition from birth.

When a ureter is blocked, urine doesn't drain properly from the kidney to the bladder and may even backflow into a kidney, causing infection or long-term damage.

Why Us? 
  • We offer the latest robotic and laporoscopic minimally invasive surgical techniques
  • We partner with other University of Arizona specialists to offer advanced techniques for treating complex ureteral obstruction, including reconstruction of the urinary tract ("renal autotransplantation")
  • Because we are actively involved in laboratory and clinical research and integrating the latest research findings into practice, we offer patients a wider spectrum of the current and cutting-edge treatment options
Treatment Options 

Surgery to address a blocked ureter can restore normal function in the urinary system. Today these procedures are often done with minimally invasive techniques that use a tiny camera and tiny instruments inserted through small incisions in the belly.

These procedures include:

  • Pyeloplasty, in which the blockage is located and cut away or divided with a laser
  • Ureteral reimplantation, in which the obstructed part of the ureter is cut away and the ureter is then sewn back together

In either surgery, the surgeon may also place a stent — a small rigid tube — to help hold the ureter open — that is then removed in a later procedure when the ureter has healed.

Patient Information