Utility of retrograde ureterocelogram in management of complex ureterocele

M. K. Arevalo, J. C. Prieto, N. Cost, G. Nuss, B. J. Brown, L. A. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction Symptomatic pediatric ureterocele has diverse manifestations, making evidence-based management impractical. Thus, detailed visualization of ureterocele anatomy prior to first surgical incision is invaluable. Retrograde ureterocelogram (RUC) is a simple, underutilized radiologic technique that can be performed during cystoscopy. This study sought to determine whether RUC changes surgical management by more accurately depicting the complex ureteral and ureterocele anatomy, compared with renal ultrasound (US) and voiding cystourethrography (VCUG). Methods Patients who underwent surgical management of ureterocele from 2003 to 2015 were identified; those who received concomitant fluoroscopic RUC were selected for the case series. Data collected included: demographics, pre-operative evaluation, surgical interventions, and outcomes. The RUC images were individually examined, and the anatomic impression compared with previous renal US and VCUG. Novel RUC findings not previously appreciated by the pre-operative evaluation were noted. The RUC was performed by cystoscopically inserting a needle into the ureterocele and injecting contrast retrograde. If indicated, simultaneous PIC (Positioning the Instillation of Contrast) cystography was performed. Results Of the 43 patients that underwent surgery for suspected ureterocele, 28 underwent cystoscopy + RUC (10 M: 18 F) at a median age of 4.6 months and median follow-up of 37.0 months. All patients had prior US, 25 had prior VCUG, and 20 had prior radionuclide studies. Ureteroceles were either duplex system (n = 21) or single system (n = 7); 17 were ectopic into the bladder neck or urethra; seven were intravesical; and four were pseudoureteroceles. Fourteen patients underwent concomitant transurethral incision of the ureterocele (TUIU); two were deferred for surgery; and 11 received concomitant definitive surgery (e.g., nephrectomy). The RUC illuminated novel aspects of the anatomy in 20 of the 28 patients. No adverse events occurred. Notably, in nine of the 28 children, significant observations from RUC prompted change to the pre-operative surgical plan. Discussion Retrograde ureterocelogram clearly revealed ureterocele ectopy, pseudoureterocele, ureterocele disproportion, and unsuspected duplex systems, making it a useful adjunct to standard US and VCUG studies. Retrograde ureterocelogram can also be used to fluoroscopically verify decompression of the ureterocele post incision, document severity of ureteral dilation, and teach residents about the great damage generated by ureterocele variations. Limitations of RUC included increasing radiation dose and overall cost. The study design was limited by its small size, retrospective approach, selection bias, and availability of RUC images. Conclusions While not indicated in routine ureterocele management, intraoperative RUC further defined ureterocele anatomy in nearly all cases and yielded changes to the original surgical plan frequently enough to merit greater use in complex patients.[Figure presented]

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)56.e1-56.e7
JournalJournal of Pediatric Urology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017


  • Ectopic ureter
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Pseudoureterocele
  • Retrograde ureterocelogram
  • Ureterocele

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Urology


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