Correction of vesicoureteral reflux: where do we stand?

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Purpose of review

Newer techniques of molecular biology allow us to gain a better understanding of the molecular mechanism of primary urinary reflux. In recent years, diagnostic tools and treatment options for vesicoureteric reflux have dramatically changed. In this review, we want to focus on genetics, molecular biology, histology, clinical findings, diagnostic tools and newer surgical techniques for the treatment of vesicoureteric reflux published between 2003 and March 2004.

Recent findings

Recent findings have demonstrated that the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system does not seem to be responsible for the development of primary vesicoureteric reflux. Echo-enhanced ultrasound with contrast medium in the bladder, performed by an experienced investigator, could replace the voiding cystourethrogram in follow-up studies of patients treated conservatively for vesicoureteric reflux. The sensitivity and specificity of ultrasound is in the range of 70-100% in some studies compared with the standard voiding cystourethrogram. Endoscopic treatment of vesicoureteric reflux using Defux or Macroplastique has gained more and more popularity, with success rates ranging between 60 and 86%. The surgery is performed on an outpatient basis with minimal morbidity. Long-term results after open operative techniques have demonstrated cure of reflux in over 95% of cases.


In the coming years, echo-enhanced ultrasound may replace the standard voiding cystourethrogram during follow-up and it may be used as an initial test in females with normal voiding patterns. Endoscopic reflux correction must be judged on the re-treatment rates and long-term success.

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