Children's Hospital Colorado
Pediatric Urology
Pediatric Urology

Research and Innovation in the Department of Pediatric Urology

Researchers in the Department of Pediatric Urology work to improve the treatment and care for patients with urologic conditions. Our team’s expertise in basic, translational, clinical outcomes and quality improvement research are aimed at understanding urologic conditions present at birth and how best to treat them.

Research areas and milestones

Bladder development

In collaboration with Dr. Anna Malykhina at the University of Colorado, Dr. Duncan Wilcox and Dr. Nao Iguchi are studying the effect of partial bladder outlet obstruction in order to assess signs of the obstruction. By studying the hypoxia (oxygen) pathways, they hope to find new types of treatment. In addition, the doctors are studying the interaction between bladder and bowel nerve function and its possible effect on children with dysfunctional elimination syndrome.

Urologic oncology

As part of the Children’s Oncology Group, we actively participate in local and national research projects aimed at improving the outcomes for children and adolescents with urologic tumors. Dr. Nicholas Cost is one of the only pediatric urologic oncologists in the country. He is spearheading testicular, kidney and pelvic tumor research efforts. Specifically, he is researching how we can reduce the side effects of therapy while maximizing survival.

Prenatal imaging

Together with researchers in the Department of Pediatric Radiology, Dr. Jeffrey Campbell is studying how different types of prenatal imaging tests affect finding urinary and genital organ irregularities at birth.

In collaboration with the Society for Fetal Urology, Dr. Campbell developed a new classification system for perinatal hydronephrosis (a condition where the kidneys are stretched due to a blockage of urine in the urinary tract, which is diagnosed prenatally) aimed at improving the prediction of outcomes in these patients.

Dr. Vijaya Vemulakonda works with researchers in the Colorado Institute for Maternal and Fetal Health to find signs of kidney function before birth in infants with bladder outlet obstruction.

Congenital hydronephrosis

Together with researchers from Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego and the University of Virginia Hospital, Dr. Vemulakonda is studying different types of treatment for infants diagnosed with hydronephrosis before birth. The research looks at how those variations in treatment impact kidney function in children with kidney obstruction. The goal of this research is to develop guidelines for surgical testing and treatment to improve the long-term outcomes of these patients.

Quality improvement

The Department or Pediatric Urology continuously improves the quality of care at Children’s Hospital Colorado. We are:

  • Improving the caregiver’s understanding of what to do before, during and after surgery
  • Reducing the number of preventable surgical cancellations for children undergoing outpatient surgery
  • Refining how the emergency department evaluates the acute scrotum for earlier detection and the improvement of treatment and outcomes in these patients.
  • Leading the assessment of evaluation guidelines for children with vesicoureteral reflux in a multicenter collaboration to establish and implement best practices to improve the detection and treatment of early renal damage.

Ongoing research efforts

Within the research areas listed above, the Department of Pediatric Urology’s current research efforts in need of patient participation are:

  • Kidney outcomes in infants diagnosed with hydronephrosis before birth
  • Fetal predictors of how bladder outlet obstruction affects babies after birth
  • Practice variations in treatment of vesicoureteral reflux
  • Role of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) in pain management for children undergoing surgery for stent removal
  • The role of a partial orchiectomy (surgical removal of one testicle) for pediatric and adolescent testicular masses
  • The role of lymph node dissection in pediatric and adolescent kidney tumors
  • The impact of surgery for kidney tumors on long-term kidney function
  • Enhanced recovery after pediatric urologic surgery
  • Can urinary tract infections (UTIs) be predicted in children undergoing pediatric urologic procedures

Contact us

Please contact the Department of Urology for more information at

Here, it’s different.™

A doctor talks to a man and woman who are facing her. The woman is holding a baby.

Why Can Treatment Options Vary?

Dr. Vemulakonda researches aspects of the patient-provider relationship and its impact on surgery decisions for infants with UPJ obstruction.

Variations in Care Research