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Obstructive uropathy

  • Alternative Names

    Uropathy - obstructive


    Stents or drains placed in the ureter or in the renal pelvis may provide short-term relief of symptoms. Nephrostomy tubes, which drain urine from the kidneys through the back, may be used to bypass the obstruction. A Foley catheter, inserted through the urethra, may also be helpful.

    Although temporary relief from the obstruction can be achieved without surgery, the cause of the obstruction must be removed and the urinary system repaired. Long-term relief from obstructive uropathy requires surgery.

    Support Groups

    Expectations (prognosis)

    If an acute obstruction is rapidly diagnosed and repaired, kidney damage is minimal or reversible -- regardless of being unilateral or bilateral.

    If chronic unilateral obstruction is not relieved promptly, there could be permanent damage to the kidney. Chronic unilateral obstruction usually does not cause kidney insufficiency or failure because most patients have normal function from the other kidney.

    Chronic bilateral obstruction may lead to kidney insufficiency or failure because both kidneys may become damaged and fail to function even after the obstruction is repaired.

    For more specific information, see the individual articles below:

    • Chronic unilateral obstructive uropathy
    • Chronic bilateral obstructive uropathy
    • Acute unilateral obstructive uropathy
    • Acute bilateral obstructive uropathy


    Obstructive uropathy can cause permanent and severe damage to the kidneys, resulting in renal failure. Obstructive uropathy caused by bladder outlet obstruction can lead to permanent and severe damage to the bladder, resulting in problems such as incontinence and urinary retention.

    Calling your health care provider

    Contact your health care provider if you have symptoms of obstructive uropathy or believe that you may be suffering from this condition.