Anomalies of the Distal Ureter, Bladder, and Urethra in Children: Embryologic, Radiologic, and Pathologic Features

http://radiographics.rsna.org/content/22/5/1139.abstract.full
Teresa Berrocal, MD, PhD ; Pedro López-Pereira, MD ; Antonia Arjonilla, MD ; Julia Gutiérrez, MD

1 From the Departments of Pediatric Radiology (T.B., A.A., J.G.) and Pediatric Urology (P.L.P.), Hospital Infantil La Paz, Paseo de la Castellana 261, Madrid 28046, Spain. Recipient of a Certificate of Merit award for an education exhibit at the 2000 RSNA scientific assembly. Received January 15, 2002; revision requested February 27 and received April 4; accepted April 23.

Congenital anomalies of the lower urinary tract are a significant cause of morbidity in infancy. Radiologic investigation is an important source of clinical information in lower urinary tract disorders but should not inconvenience the patient, expose the patient to unnecessary radiation, or delay surgical correction. In pediatric patients with suspected underlying urologic structural anomalies, screening ultrasonography is commonly the initial diagnostic study. If dilatation of the urinary tract is confirmed, voiding cystourethrography is performed to determine the presence of vesicoureteral reflux (VUR) and other causes of upper tract dilatation. If VUR is confirmed, follow-up with nuclear cystography or echo-enhanced cystosonography may be performed. If VUR is excluded, nuclear diuresis renography is the primary test for differentiating between obstructed and nonobstructed megaureter. Intravenous urography can be used to specifically identify an area of obstruction and to determine the presence of duplex collecting systems and a ureterocele. Computed tomography and magnetic resonance (MR) imaging are unsuitable for general screening but provide superb anatomic detail and added diagnostic specificity. MR imaging is mandatory in the evaluation of associated spinal anomalies. MR urography can demonstrate ectopic extravesical ureteric insertions, thereby providing a global view of the malformation. Familiarity with anomalies of the lower urinary tract is essential for correct diagnosis and appropriate management.