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Ureter Injury or Damage
From the Pelvic Floor Articles List
My ureter was damaged during my hysterectomy. What does this mean? Does this happen often? What am I facing as a consequence?
Ureter injury is one of the most serious complications following a gynecological surgery, however, it is not a common injury. According to the Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, the ureter is injured in approximately 0.5 to 2 percent of all hysterectomies and routine gynecological pelvic operations.
The ureters are tubes that allow urine to move from the kidneys to the bladder. They are approximately 10 inches long and extend from the abdomen to the pelvic region. Because of their close proximity to the genital tract, there is a risk of injury for them during gynecological surgeries. Depending on the specific trauma that has occurred to a ureter, symptoms may include pain, fever, swollen abdomen, vomiting, difficulty urinating, urine that is bloody or cloudy, or a watery discharge from the vagina.
The more quickly ureter damage is discovered and repaired, the better. When the injury is noticed during surgery, a urologist can be brought in for immediate repairs which can minimize long term risks. If the injury is discovered after surgery, temporary measures may need to be taken until the body has recovered more fully from the initial surgery.
When and what treatment occurs will depend on several factors including the extent, location, and type of injury, as well as the symptoms and overall condition of the patient. The presence of infection, edema, and inflammation can also play a critical role in treatment decisions. Consulting with a surgeon experienced in ureteral repairs is highly recommend due to the seriousness, skill required, and wide variety of treatment options. In some cases, a stent can be placed to allow the damaged area to heal. If an injury is extensive, excision and reimplantation may be performed. In rare cases, a nephrostomy tube may be necessary.
Because of this complication, your recovery will likely be extended by at least a few weeks, longer if your injury required additional surgery. You may face additional restrictions regarding lifting and straining during that time. You may also need to take additional medications to control pain, spasms, and infection. If you have a catheter or tube of any kind, you will need to follow your doctor's instructions for caring for it to minimize infection and complications. If you notice any new pain, urination issues, watery discharge, or fever, you should get in touch with your urologist immediately.
This content was written by staff of HysterSisters.com by non-medical professionals based on discussions, resources and input from other patients for the purpose of patient-to-patient support.
01-17-2014 - 06:40 PM
SHARING IS CARING
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