Ureteral reimplantation surgery in adults: what to expect

Join our support group if you would like to get some advice from people who have had ureteral reimplantation surgery.

Ureteral reimplantation in adults is less common than it is in children. While the surgery may be similar in both cases, recovery is more difficult in adults and possibly more painful.

Here’s a list of some of the things you can expect:

Surgery duration: around 2 1/2 hours.

Hospital stay: 5 days plus home visits.

The site of the incision may have the following after the operation:

  • 4 tiny tubes going to the incision,
  • 2 drips for delivery of antibiotics,
  • 2 drips to delivery an anesthetic,
  • 2 catheters – a foley (in the urethra) and a suprapubic (through the groin area and bladder),
  • a drain into a little plastic ball

Other equipment may be used:

  • Oxygen

To avoid blood cots patients may be made to wear socks from ankle to knee connected to an automatic pump which massage the legs.


The first couple of days can be pretty miserable or in other words “imagine the worst time you had to tinkle and hold it, multiply that by 10 but you never get the relief of going. Those are the bladder spasms and mine were unending the first two days.”

On the 2nd day nurses may help patients to get up and walk.

Pain relief which may be used

  • Detrol LA  (tolterodine) to help bladder spasms
  • Dilotid drip – self administered on demand
  • Percocette (later on)
  • Vicodin (longer term use at home)
  • Motrin


About 8″ for a regular ureteral reimplantation, one 1″ incision from a drain in surgery, plus 2 more little scars from drains and one 1″ scar from the suprapubic catheter.


The Foley may come out on day 3 or 4. The suprapubic may stay in place for longer. Every doctor and type of surery may require catheters’ to stay a longer or shorter time.

What to wear

Because of all the tubes coming out of the body it becomes difficult to get out of bed. The hospital gown is the best piece of clothing because if it gets dirty from leaks or whatever it can easily be changed.


No food the night before (your anesthesiologist will tell you what he/she wants).

Clear liquids may be introduced up to 24 hours after the operation and depending on the reaction to the liquids some solids may be started.


Bring your own pillow – the pillows and bed protectors have vinyl covers

Use a draw sheet instead of the pad hospitals normally use under patients in the middle of the bed, which will hel stay cooler.

Removal of the drain and catheter

Very painful, make sure you hit your pain med button or take a pill beforehand. The drain tube  is  14-18″.  The suprapubic is not as long but is thick at the end so prepare yourself. It only hurts for a couple of minutes.

Bladder spasms may kick it an any time but they are a given after the removal of the catheter. They may just last from 1/2 day to up to a couple of weeks if you’re unlucky.

Driving afterwards is not an issue, use a small pillow to pad the lap belt.

Take it easy for the next 2 or 3 weeks. Bladder spasms are worse if you get tired.

Bring tampons to hospital. They will probably have none.

Do you want to read more?

A 45 year old woman experience with bilateral ureteral reimplantation surgery.

Another story from ureteral reimplantation surgery in an adult.

Do you have any questions?

Join the ureteral reimplantation surgery support group at Yahoo! You can view messages without joining but if you want to participate in discussions you’ll need to create an account.


23 thoughts on “Ureteral reimplantation surgery in adults: what to expect

  1. I am 55 years old and have scar tissue in lower left ureter. Suppose to have ureter reimplantaion because left kidney is functioning at 31 percent. I am wondering if there would be any long term effects after having the surgery that would be worse than just loosing my kidney sometime down the road whenever that might be.

  2. I am 55 years old and have scar tissue in lower left ureter. Suppose to have ureter reimplantaion because left kidney is functioning at 31 percent. I am wondering if there would be any long term effects after having the surgery that would be worse than just loosing my kidney sometime down the road whenever that might be.

  3. Had surgery in April. Stent was removed6 weeks later. Continue to have bladder spasms which can be severe. Told that I have reflux which is causing recurrent UTIs. Also still taking pain meds maybe 2-3 times a week. Now potassium has dropped and doctors can’t tell me why. Anyone else have this happen?

  4. my wife have nephrostomy tubes in each kidney as her ureters tubes was complete damage due to radiation. we went to M D ANDERSON IN HOUSTON and was told that the ureters was not repairable and the surgery to correct the problem was major surgery and due to her condition it was a risky surgery. PLEASE TELL NE IF THE URETERS TUBES CAN BE REPLACE WITH STENTS?

  5. Have friend at church w/ history of cured rectal cancer (2001)…now has ileostomy due to extensive adhesions…left hospital in June w/ 2 nephrostomy tubes…one removed…was told yesterday after cysto that RT ureter was too badly scarred and that she would have to live w/ RT nephrostomy tube remainder of life. Very discouraged. Surely, some sort of procedure has been developed to transplant a healthy ureter to viably healthy kidney!! Any insights??

  6. Hi, it will depend on the reason why he needs it. The dr should be able to tell you about the risks of not having it such as loss of kidney function due to scarring, UTIs, etc

  7. My husband is 40 years old and his dr advised him that he needs to have a right ureter reimplantation. He told me last night he won’t have the surgery. What can we expect to happen if he doesn’t have it?

  8. I had left ureter reimplantation surgery on 2-18-13. I only have one kidney and it was failing due to endometriosis which had blocked my ureter tube. This surgery have made a huge differance in my life, I am feeling much better and was even able to stop using the nephrostomy bag. The only symptom I am having after this surgery is during urination or a little before, I still have pain in my kidney on the left side. I wonder did any one else have this same reaction after this surgery.

  9. I had this surgery when I was 26 years old.This was a birth defect that went undetected. I had both sides done. Came home with cath bag tube ,4 drains, after a few weeks in hospital. Was laid up at home for a few more weeks. Kidneys very scared and damage from no early diagnosis.,and they function as one. I was able to have children first a son then twin girls. I am now 55 and still have had some reuccuring issues over the years.those being infection . Now have thyroid a bit sluggish and that effect kidneys. I am also on 2 pills that remove fluids from body.I was very lucky my life was saved by this surgery-my kidneys were shutting down .

  10. i had left ureter reimplantation in oct of last year and i am still haveing problems and my doctor had me teach myself how to cather myself is this normal??????

  11. Pingback: VUR and ureteral reimplantation surgery in adults – Support group « Kidney reflux, ureteral reimplantation surgery and bladder spasms

  12. Kim, I suggest you join this support group to get other people’s opinion: http://health.groups.yahoo.com/group/ureteral_reimplantation/
    I don’t have any experience with blood results other than to check if .9 is within the normal range. Usually results come back with the normal range for every item indicated next to the item itself. .9 could be higher than previously but it may be within the normal range.

  13. My 13 month old son had bur surgery last month. He had severe hydrnephrosis – we went in for his blood work today and his creatinine was.9 it was .3 before surgery. Anyone have any comments – we are really worried.

  14. My 1-yr old had ureter reimplantation surgery a 1.5 weeks ago. While in the hospital, he had a few bouts of what appeared to be severe bladder spasms. He was given Toradol by IV which worked wonders. It can only be administered for 48 hours but the nurse told me it is essentially supercharged ibuprofen. Once home, he experienced mild bladder spasms and 2 ml of infant motrin every 6 hrs. has seemed to be effective.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s