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Many bladder and kidney problems in children now can be fixed using robot-assisted laparoscopic surgery. Robot-assisted surgery allows surgeons to perform complex procedures through tiny incisions.
Common surgical treatments include:
A nephrectomy is surgery that removes part of or an entire kidney. This procedure is performed on children with a diseased or severely injured kidney.
A nephroureterectomy is a surgical procedure that removes a kidney and the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder). Surgeons usually perform this procedure to treat damaged or nonfunctioning kidneys associated with urinary reflux (abnormal flow of urine up into the kidneys) or urinary obstruction (blockage of urine flow out of the body).
A pyeloplasty is a surgical procedure that repairs a blockage between the kidneys and the ureter (the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder). Surgeons perform a pyeloplasty when a blockage or narrowing of the ureter prevents urine from draining normally out of the kidneys. When this occurs, pressure builds up in the kidneys, which leads to a swelling of the kidneys. Doctors can detect this condition, called hydronephrosis, using an ultrasound or kidney scan.
Ureteral reimplantation corrects the way an abnormally positioned ureter (the tube that carries urine from each kidney to the bladder) connects with the bladder. When the ureters are working properly, urine flows one way to the bladder. If the ureter connects to the bladder abnormally, urine can back up the ureter to the kidney. This is called urinary reflux and can cause infections that damage the kidney. During the surgery, a pediatric urologist will repair the connection between the ureter and the bladder.