A normal functioning urinary tract is made up of a right and left kidney that each connect to one bladder through a right and left ureter. When one of these ureters does not connect properly to the bladder and drains somewhere outside the bladder, this condition is called an ectopic ureter. In girls, the ectopic ureter usually drains into the urethra or even the vagina. In boys, it usually drains into the urethra near the prostate or into the genital duct system. Sometimes the ectopic ureter is connected to a partial kidney that is part of a duplicated kidney. This is not two separate kidneys, but one kidney that has two separate parts draining through two ureters on one side.
The method doctors use to diagnose a patient with an ectopic ureter usually depends on the symptoms a patient experiences.
Children’s National offers three techniques to treat ectopic ureter. Each child is unique and the medical team will work with the family to determine the best option.
Recovery depends on the treatment. However, infants and small children are usually hospitalized from one to five days after open surgery, depending on age, and one or two days after laparoscopic or robotic surgery. A small catheter may be left at the time of surgery, which is removed painlessly and quickly before the child goes home or in the office at a follow-up visit.
At Children’s National in Washington, DC, our pediatric urologists provide comprehensive care for disorders affecting reproductive and urinary organs.
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"I know that it's very scary to have to think about surgery, but it's been the best thing I could have done for her. I would love to be a support for any other families going through this as well."
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Craig Peters, MD, is the chief of Surgical Technology and Translation and Principal Investigator in the bioengineering initiative at the Sheikh Zayed Institute for Pediatric Surgical Innovation.