What is an ureterocele?
A ureterocele is a congenital abnormality. It is a ballooning of the ureter at the bladder level. This ballooning can cause an obstruction that prevents urine from draining from the kidney, through the ureter, into the bladder.
Ureteroceles are most often associated with duplex collecting system, instead of a single collecting system. A duplex collecting system is when there are two ureters draining from both the upper and lower segments of the kidneys into the bladder. The ureterocele usually occurs only in one of the ureters. A single collecting system has a single ureter draining the kidney.
Why come to Children's Hospital Colorado for treatment of this condition?
The professionals at Children's Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado are dedicated to caring for kids. The members of the urology team are experts in pediatric urologic conditions and our surgeons are specialized in both pediatrics and urology. We strive to help patients and families feel educated about their condition, prepared for treatment and fully cared for by our urology team.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Usually a ureterocele has no symptoms, however patients suffering from urinary tract infections caused by ureteroceles can experience flank pain, painful urination, irritability, fussiness, fever and/or foul-smelling urine.
How do you diagnose it?
A ureterocele can often be diagnosed pre-birth by a prenatal ultrasound, however it may not show up until the child has a urinary tract infections.
How is it treated?
Treatment of a ureterocele is dependent on the child’s age, overall health, medical history and extent of the condition. Treatment options include a minimally-invasive surgery which decompresses the ureterocele or removes the ureterocele sac entirely. More extensive surgery may be necessary if function of the kidney has been reduced.
Who gets it and can it be prevented?
The cause of ureteroceles is unknown and there is no known prevention for this condition. It is present at birth and may be discovered in utero or not until later in life. Duplex kidneys tend to run in families, but the exact reason is not yet fully understood.
When should I seek medical attention?
If your child is diagnosed prenatally, you may contact Children's Hospital Colorado Urology Department prior to, or immediately after your child’s birth. If your child is not diagnosed at birth and has multiple urinary tract infections, contact Children’s Urology for further evaluation at the recommendation of your primary care physician.