Spontaneous resolution and the role of endoscopic surgery in the treatment of primary obstructive megaureter: a review of the literature


Submitted: 25 July 2023
Accepted: 4 December 2023
Published: 19 December 2023
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The megaureter accounts for almost a quarter of all urinary tract dilations diagnosed in utero and is the second leading cause of hydronephrosis in newborns, following pyeloureteral junction obstruction. The current standard treatment for progressive or persistent, symptomatic primary obstructive megaureter is ureteral anti-reflux reimplantation, which can be associated with ureteral remodeling or plication. Due to the associated morbidity, postoperative recovery challenges, and the complications that may arise from the open surgical approach, there has been a natural inclination towards validating new minimally invasive techniques. This study reviews the literature, extracting data from three major international databases, from 1998 to 2022. Out of 1172 initially identified articles, only 52 were deemed eligible, analyzing 1764 patients and 1981 renal units. Results show that 65% of cases required surgical intervention, with minimally invasive techniques constituting 56% of these procedures. High-pressure endoscopic balloon dilation was the preferred endourologic technique. The degree of ureterohydronephrosis is considered one of the factors indicating the need for surgery. There is an inverse relationship between the diameter of the ureter and the likelihood of spontaneous resolution. Conditions such as renal hypoplasia, renal dysplasia, or ectopic ureteral insertion strongly indicate a poor prognosis. Endoscopic surgical techniques for treating primary obstructive megaureter can be definitive, firstline treatment options. In selected cases, they might be at least as effective and safe as the open approach, but with advantages like quicker recovery, fewer complications, shorter hospital stays, and reduced costs.


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