Injuries to the ureter

15 August 2018

Ureteral injury is damage caused by trauma to one or both ureters, the muscular tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder. Damage can occur during pelvic or abdominal surgery in both men and women. The types of surgery involved include abdominal hysterectomy, colonectomy and abdominal aortic aneurysm repair.

Ureter injury during an operation can occur in the best of surgical hands during a technically challenging procedure. Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery can be difficult because it can be hard for the surgeon see all of the structures clearly. Ureter injury may also be negligently caused, for example, by operating at the wrong level. Some patients are at higher risk such as those with pelvic inflammatory disease or and those who have had previous pelvic surgery or adhesions.

When a ureteral injury does occur, quick recognition and treatment are essential if long term problems are to be avoided. A surgeon performing surgery close to the ureters should therefore always visualise the ureters at the end of surgery to make sure they have not been cut or perforated.

Symptoms of ureteral damage include leaking bladder, a swollen and/ or painful abdomen, inability to urinate or blood in the urine and swelling or bruising in the genital area. If an injury to the ureter has occurred and is not noticed, it can lead to chronic ureteral obstruction or the formation of fistulas and even potential loss of kidney function.

The effects can be physically disabling due to chronic urinary symptoms like urgency, frequency and incontinence as well as recurrent urinary tract infection. These problems can make it difficult for some people to leave the house, leading to significant psychological problems such as depression, anxiety and agoraphobia.

If you have suffered such an injury, our specialist team of solicitors can help you recover the compensation you deserve.

Deborah Powlesland has particular expertise in dealing with these claims and has successfully represented clients with ureter injury, both male and female. Deborah can be contacted on 01483 543268 or at