Trauma to the bladder and ureter: a review of diagnosis, management, and prognosis

B. Phillips, S. Holzmer, L. Turco, M. Mirzaie, E. Mause, A. Mause, A. Person, S. W. Leslie, D. L. Cornell, M. Wagner, R. Bertellotti, J. A. Asensio

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Background: Injuries to the ureter or bladder are relatively rare. Therefore, a high level of clinical suspicion and knowledge of operative anatomy is of utmost importance for their management. Herein, a review of the literature related to the modern diagnosis, management, and prognosis for bladder and ureteral injuries is presented. Methods: A literature search was conducted through PubMed. A thorough search of the world’s literature published in English was completed. Search terms included “injury, diagnosis, prognosis, and management for ureter and bladder”. All years, both genders, as well as penetrating, blunt, and iatrogenic mechanisms were evaluated for inclusion. Following PRISMA guidelines, studies were selected based on relevance and then categorized. Results: 172 potentially relevant studies were identified. Given our focus on modern diagnosis and treatment, we then narrowed the studies in each category to those published within the last 30 years, resulting in a total of 26 studies largely consisting of Level IV retrospective case series. Our review found that bladder ruptures occur from penetrating, blunt, or iatrogenic mechanisms, and most are extraperitoneal (63%). Ureteral injuries are incurred from penetrating mechanisms in 77% of cases. The overall mortality rates for bladder rupture and ureteral injury were 8 and 7%, respectively. Limitations: Limitations of this article are similar to all PRISMA-guided review articles: the dependence on previously published research and availability of references. Conclusion: The bladder is injured far more often than the ureter but ureteral injuries have higher injury severity. Both of these organs can be damaged by penetrating, blunt, or iatrogenic mechanisms and surgical intervention is often required for severe ureter or bladder injuries. Since symptoms of these injuries may not always be apparent, a high level of suspicion is required for appropriate diagnosis and treatment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)763-773
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Journal of Trauma and Emergency Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Surgery
  • Emergency Medicine
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
  • Critical Care and Intensive Care Medicine


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