Laparoscopic Transposition of Lower Pole Crossing Vessels or ‘The Vascular Hitch’

Contributors: John Loomis (Texas A&M Health Science Center)

Purpose: Relief of UPJ obstruction

Instruments: da Vinci Robotic Surgical System

Landmarks: Retropertionem, ureters, kidney, lower pole crossing vessel

Procedure: The laparoscopic transposition of lower pole crossing vessels, or “vascular hitch”, has been successfully used to relieve purely extrinsic ureteropelvic junction obstruction in both adults and children. This case describes the surgical steps for successfully completing this technique. Our patient is a 7 year old female. After induction of general anesthesia, the patient is placed in the right or left lateral decubitus postion (depending on the affected kidney). Access to the abdomen is accomplished with an infraumbilical incision utilizing a Veress needle, with insufflation and saline drop test. A 12mm port is placed in this incision and 2 robotic ports are placed under direct supervision, one in the midline of the suprapubic region and the other in the midline of the epigastric region, with an additional 5mm assistant port. Release of the liver or splenic attachments, with mobilization of the right and left colon, allows for exposure. After doing so, dissection into the retroperitoneum reveals the ureter, which can then be followed to the UPJ and the vessels of interest. Careful dissection of these vessels, the ureter, and lower pole, allows for mobilization of the crossing vessels to a more cranial point on the renal pelvis. “Hitching” of the vessels to this point is accomplished with interrupted 5-0 PDS, and allows for relief of the UPJ obstruction. The lower pole of the kidney is observed throughout to ensure adequate vascularization after hitching of the crossing blood vessels. Closure of the fascia and skin is accomplished in the usual fashion.

Conflict of Interest: None

References: 1. Sakoda A1, Cherian A, Mushtaq I., “Laparoscopic transposition of lower pole crossing vessels (‘vascular hitch’) in pure extrinsic pelvi-ureteric junction (PUJ) obstruction in children.”, BJU Int. 2011 Oct;108(8):1364-1368.

2. Gundeti MS, Reynolds WS, Duffy PG, Mushtaq I. “Further experience with the vascular hitch (laparoscopic transposition of lower pole crossing vessels): an alternate treatment for pediatric ureterovascular ureteropelvic junction obstruction.”, J Urol. 2008 Oct;180:1832-1836.

3. Schneider A, Ferreira CG, Delay C, Lacreuse I, Moog R, Becmeur F., “Lower pole vessels in children with pelviureteric junction obstruction: laparoscopic vascular hitch or dismembered pyeloplasty?”, J Pediatric Urol. 2013 Aug;9(4):419-423.


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