Ureteral Reimplant for Children: What to Expect at Home

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Your Child's Recovery

A ureteral (say "you-REE-tur-ul") reimplant is surgery to change the way a ureter is attached to the bladder. The ureter is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.

After surgery, your child may need to urinate more often or may feel a sudden need to urinate. Your child also may have a burning feeling when he or she urinates. You may notice some blood in your child's urine. Your child may have bladder cramps (spasms) while the bladder is healing. This can hurt. Your doctor can give your child medicine to help with pain. These symptoms usually get better in 2 to 4 weeks.

Your child may have a tube that drains urine from his or her bladder (urinary catheter). Your child also may have a tube near the incision to drain fluids at first.

After surgery, your child may have fewer urinary tract infections. This surgery also may help prevent kidney damage that can happen when urine keeps backing up into the kidneys.

Most children are able to go back to school or daycare in about 1 to 2 weeks.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for your child to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to help your child get better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for your child at home?

Activity

  • Allow your child to slowly become more active. Have him or her rest as much as needed. Make sure your child gets enough sleep at night.
  • If your child is old enough to walk, have him or her try to walk each day. Bit by bit, increase the amount your child walks. Your child may climb stairs. Walking boosts blood flow and helps prevent pneumonia and constipation.
  • Your child may take a shower or bath, unless he or she still has a urinary catheter or drain. If your child has a catheter or drain, follow your doctor's instructions about bathing.
  • If your child goes to school or daycare, he or she may return when he or she is ready. This is usually in about 1 to 2 weeks.
  • Do not allow your child to do strenuous activity for about 4 to 6 weeks, or until your doctor says it is okay. This includes riding bikes, playing running games, wrestling, and taking part in gym class.
  • Do not allow your child to swim or go in hot tubs until the doctor says it is okay.
  • Your child may ride in the car with the car seat straps in their usual position.

Diet

  • Your child can eat his or her normal diet. If your child's stomach is upset, try bland, low-fat foods like plain rice, broiled chicken, toast, and yogurt.
  • Have your child drink plenty of fluids.
  • You may notice a change in your child's bowel habits right after surgery. This is common. If your child has not had a bowel movement after a couple of days, call the doctor.

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when your child can restart his or her medicines. The doctor will also give you instructions about your child taking any new medicines.
  • The doctor may give your child medicine for bladder spasms. Have your child take it as directed.
  • Make sure that your child takes pain medicines exactly as directed.
    • If the doctor gave your child a prescription medicine for pain, give it as prescribed.
    • If your child is not taking a prescription pain medicine, ask the doctor if your child can take an over-the-counter medicine.
  • If you think pain medicine is making your child sick to his or her stomach:
    • Give your child the medicine after meals (unless the doctor has told you not to).
    • Ask your child's doctor for a different pain medicine.
  • Your doctor may prescribe antibiotics. Have your child take them as directed. Do not stop giving them to your child just because he or she feels better. Your child needs to take the full course of antibiotics.

Incision care

  • If your child has strips of tape on the incision, leave the tape on for a week or until it falls off.
  • Wash the area daily with warm, soapy water, and pat it dry. Don't use hydrogen peroxide or alcohol, which can slow healing. You may cover the area with a gauze bandage if it weeps or rubs against clothing. Change the bandage every day.
  • Keep the area clean and dry.

Other instructions

  • Your child may have a urinary catheter or a drain near the incision. Your doctor will tell you how to take care of it.
  • Your child may not be able to control when he or she urinates for a few weeks. He or she may need a diaper or pad to soak up leaking urine for 2 to 3 weeks. Reassure your child that this often happens after the surgery and will stop in time.

Follow-up care is a key part of your child's treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if your child is having problems. It's also a good idea to know your child's test results and keep a list of the medicines your child takes.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think your child may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • Your child passes out (loses consciousness).
  • Your child has sudden chest pain and shortness of breath or coughs up blood.
  • Your child has severe trouble breathing.

Call your doctor or nurse call line now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • Your child cannot urinate.
  • Your child is sick to his or her stomach or cannot keep fluids down.
  • Your child has pain that does not get better after he or she takes pain medicine.
  • Your child has a fever over 38°C or chills.
  • Your child has signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the incision.
    • Pus draining from the incision.
    • Swollen lymph nodes in his or her neck, armpits, or groin.
    • A fever.
  • Your child has loose stitches, or the incision comes open.
  • Bright red blood has soaked through the bandage over your child's incision.
  • Your child has new back pain. The pain may be just below the rib cage, on one side. This is called flank pain.
  • Your child's urine smells bad or looks cloudy or discoloured.

Watch closely for any changes in your child's health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if:

  • Your child refuses to drink fluids.

Where can you learn more?

Go to https://www.healthwise.net/patientEd

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