Robot-assisted reconstructive surgery for ureteral malignancy: Analysis of efficacy and oncologic outcomes

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Endourology








Background and Purpose: There have been previous reports of the use of robotic technology for the surgical treatment of ureteral neoplasms such as transitional-cell carcinoma. These have lacked long-term follow-up, been isolated cases, or focused on only the distal ureter. This investigation examines a series of mid and distal ureteral neoplasms managed with surgeon controlled robotic techniques at a tertiary care medical center. We present perioperative data and long-term follow-up, with emphasis on oncologic outcomes. Patients and Methods: This series includes six consecutive patients who have undergone robot-assisted surgical extirpation of mid and distal ureteral malignancies since 2008. Four patients underwent robot-assisted distal ureterectomy with ureteroneocystostomy, and two underwent midureter segmental excision with ureteroureterostomy. Patient demographics, intraoperative data, final pathology results, and oncologic follow-up were reviewed retrospectively. Results: Total mean operative time was 268.5 minutes, including the cystoscopy and change of position component of the procedure; mean estimated blood loss was 72.5 mL, and the mean length of stay was 1.8 days. All four patients who underwent distal ureterectomy also had excisions of the ipsilateral bladder cuff-three needed a psoas hitch to facilitate the ureteroneocystostomy. Final pathology results revealed four cases of transitional-cell carcinoma, one case of ureteral carcinoma in situ, and one case of non-Hodgkin diffuse-type B-cell lymphoma. The only complication was a small hydrocele in one patient. All patients underwent standard surveillance protocol, with a recurrence in the bladder developing in one patient. Ureteral obstruction did not develop in any patient postoperatively. Mean length of follow-up was 33 months. Conclusions: Robot-assisted surgery is well suited for the complex reconstruction of the mid and distal ureter after excision of low-grade malignant lesions. This series demonstrates that this surgical approach offers excellent intermediate-term oncologic outcomes with preservation of ipsilateral renal function. We believe that robotic surgery may be considered as a first-line option for the minimally invasive excision and reconstruction of low-grade, localized ureteral malignancy in selected patients at centers with experienced teams. © 2012, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.

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