Iatrogenic ureteral injury in colorectal cancer surgery

Andersen P, et al. Iatrogenic ureteral injury in colorectal cancer surgery: a nationwide study comparing laparoscopic and open approaches. Surg Endosc. 2015 Jun;29(6): 1406-12.

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Results: A total of 18,474 patients had a resection for colorectal cancer. Eighty-two ureteral injuries were related to colorectal surgery. The rate of ureteral injuries in the entire cohort was 0.44 %, with 37 (0.59 %) injuries in the laparoscopic group (n = 6,291) and 45 (0.37 %) injuries in the open group (n = 12,183), (P = 0.03). No difference in ureteral injury was found in relation to surgical approach in colon cancer patients. In rectum cancer patients (n = 5,959), the laparoscopic approach was used in 1,899 patients, and 19 (1.00 %) had ureteral injuries, whereas 17 (0.42 %) of 4,060 patients who underwent an open resection had a ureteral injury. In multivariate analysis adjusted for age, gender, ASA score, BMI, tumor stage, preoperative chemo-radiation, calendar year, and specialty of the surgeon, the laparoscopic approach was associated with an increased risk of ureteral injury, OR = 2.67; 95 % CI 1.26-5.65.

Conclusion: In this nationwide study laparoscopic surgery for rectal cancer with curative intent was associated with a significantly increased risk of iatrogenic ureteral injury compared to open surgery.


Halabi WJ, et al. Ureteral injuries in colorectal surgery: an analysis of trends, outcomes, and risk factors over a 10-year period in the United States. Dis Colon Rectum. 2014 Feb;57(2):179-86.

Full-text for Emory users.

Results: An estimated 2,165,848 colorectal surgical procedures were performed in the United States over the study period, and 6027 ureteral injuries were identified (0.28%). The rate of ureteral injuries was higher in the second half of the decade (2006-2010) compared with the first half (2001-2005; 3.1/1000 vs 2.5/1000; p < 0.001). Ureteral injuries were independently associated with higher mortality (OR, 1.45; p < 0.05), morbidity (OR, 1.66; p < 0.001), longer length of stay (mean difference, 3.65 days; p < 0.001), and higher hospital charges by $31,497 (p< 0.001). Risk factors for ureteral injuries included rectal cancer (OR, 1.85), adhesions (OR, 1.83), metastatic cancer (OR, 1.76), weight loss/malnutrition (OR, 1.08), and teaching hospitals (OR, 1.05). Protective factors included the use of laparoscopy (OR, 0.91), transverse colectomy (OR, 0.90), and right colectomy (OR, 0.43).

Conclusions: Iatrogenic ureteral injuries are rare complications in colorectal surgery; however, their incidence appears to be rising. Ureteral injuries are associated with higher mortality, morbidity, hospital charge, and length of stay, and their incidence can be predicted by several factors.


Tardu A, et al. Identification of Ureter during Colorectal Surgery Cannot Always Avoid Ureteral Injury: Duplicated Collecting System. Am Surg. 2015 Nov;81(11):E369-70.

“Iatrogenic ureteral injury is uncommon but well-known serious complication of abdominopelvic surgery. Duplicated urinary collecting system is a congenital variation and seen in approximately 1% of normal population. [1] We presented a patient with duplicated collecting system who had iatrogenic ureteral injury during emergency colonic surgery. As far as we know, there was no similar case reported yet.” (p. E369)


More PubMed results on ureteral injuries in colorectal surgery.

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