Ureteropelvic Junction (UPJ) obstruction is a blockage at the junction where the ureter attaches to the kidney. This causes a decreased flow of urine through the ureter and an increase in fluid pressure inside the kidney. UPJ obstruction may be diagnosed before birth but it is also found in adults. Excess urine builds up within the kidney — called hydronephrosis — and may be seen on an ultrasound. Scar tissue, kidney stones, previous surgery or disorders of the upper urinary tract can also lead to UPJ obstruction.
Urologic services are available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Main Campus in Boston, at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, at Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Care Center at Foxborough, and at our newest locations Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in Milford and Brigham and Women's Health Care Center at Westwood. Discuss the most convenient location for you when you make an appointment with a patient coordinator.
Thanks to prenatal ultrasound screenings, many UPJ obstructions are identified before birth. Children and adults may not present with any symptoms at all. When they do, they might include:
An ultrasound is a useful screening test to detect problems in an unborn baby. After birth and for older children and adults, the following diagnostic procedures and tests may be done:
UPJ obstruction diagnosed before or after birth may improve on its own. If this does not happen, surgery is often recommended for children and for adults diagnosed later in life. Your urologists will discuss treatment options with you. They may include:
You will receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and receive clinically-proven treatment by a board-certified urologist who specializes in UPJ obstruction. Our goal is to alleviate symptoms so you can return to every life. Appointments are confidential and private.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital practices a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, routinely collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. If your urologist discovers that an underlying illness has contributed to your UPJ obstruction, you will be referred to an appropriate BWH physician for an evaluation.
Go to our online health library to learn more about urology diseases and tests.
Visit the Kessler Health Education Library in the Bretholtz Center for Patients and Families to access computers and knowledgeable staff.
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