Pelvi-ureteric junction obstruction in adults

Written by: Mr Chris Blick
Edited by: Karolyn Judge

Pelvi-ureteric junction obstruction (PUJ) isn’t just a condition in babies; adults can experience it, too. If it isn’t tended to, it can lead to kidney damage.


In this article, highly-skilled consultant urologist Mr Chris Blick provides an informative guide to PUJ, its causes, symptoms and treatment.


Young woman sat down with a pained expression, resting her hand over her opposite shoulder


What is pelvi-ureteric junction (PUJ) obstruction?

This condition exists when the drainage of urine from the kidney into the ureter (tube that connects the kidney to the bladder) is obstructed. This causes dilatation or swelling of the renal pelvis (the part of the kidney into which urine drains).


PUJ obstruction can cause:

  • pain in the side of the back, which is often worse after drinking a lot of fluid or alcohol
  • urine infections
  • kidney stones


If left untreated, PUJ obstruction may cause the obstructed kidney to lose function.


What causes this condition?

The condition may be something a patient is born with (congenital) or something that develops during their life (acquired). PUJ obstruction can be caused by a weakness in the wall of the ureter, compression from a blood vessel supplying the kidney or from scar tissue which may have developed following trauma, infection or kidney stones.


Is PUJ hereditary?

PUJ obstruction is not a condition passed on from parents to their children.


Is PUJ obstruction curable?

In many cases treatment may not be necessary, however in cases that do require treatment the success rates are more than 90 per cent.


Is a pyeloplasty a safe procedure?

Pyeloplasty is a safe and effective treatment for PUJ obstruction, usually carried out as a robot assisted laparoscopic or keyhole operation. Immediately after the operation, some patients may suffer from temporary shoulder tip pain and abdominal bloating.


Patients will be in hospital for an average of one to two nights, the risk of requiring a blood transfusion is less than two per cent and most patients will be fully recovered within four weeks.



If you’re concerned about PUJ or any other kidney problem, Mr Blick can provide expert advice and treatment. Arrange an appointment with him, via his Top Doctors profile, here.

By Mr Chris Blick

Mr Christopher Blick is a highly skilled consultant urologist based in London and Reading. He specialises in treating kidney cancer, bladder cancer and urinary tract infections, as well as a number of prostate conditions, including BPH, prostatitis, and prostate cancer.

Mr Blick qualified from the University of Sheffield before undertaking his specialist urological training in Oxfordshire, Berkshire, and Buckinghamshire. He then completed a British Association of Urological Surgeons Fellowship to the Keck Institute of Medicine, University of Southern California, USA under the tutorship of esteemed pioneer and international leader of robotic renal and bladder surgery Professor Inderbir Gill. He was later awarded a DPhil (PhD) by Christ Church, University of Oxford.

Mr Blick's research has been widely published, particularly his work on kidney and bladder cancer and he has made presentations at both national and international meetings. He is the UK representative at the Board of the European Association of Urology (young Urologist office) and a member of the editorial board of the Journal of Clinical Urology. His interest in clinical trials led to him being the first urological trainee member of the National Institute of Heath Research (NIHR) clinical studies group (CSG).

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