Introduction and hypothesis: We aim to review iatrogenic bladder and ureteric injuries sustained during caesarean section and hysterectomy.
Methods: A search of Cochrane, Embase, Medline and grey literature was performed using methods pre-published on PROSPERO. Eligible studies described iatrogenic bladder or ureter injury rates during caesarean section or hysterectomy. The 15 largest studies were included for each procedure sub-type and meta-analyses performed. The primary outcome was injury incidence. Secondary outcomes were risk factors and preventative measures.
Results: Ninety-six eligible studies were identified, representing 1,741,894 women. Amongst women undergoing caesarean section, weighted pooled rates of bladder or ureteric injury per 100,000 procedures were 267 or 9 events respectively. Injury rates during hysterectomy varied by approach and pathological condition. Weighted pooled mean rates for bladder injury were 212–997 events per 100,000 procedures for all approaches (open, vaginal, laparoscopic, laparoscopically assisted vaginal and robot assisted) and all pathological conditions (benign, malignant, any), except for open peripartum hysterectomy (6,279 events) and laparoscopic hysterectomy for malignancy (1,553 events). Similarly, weighted pooled mean rates for ureteric injury were 9–577 events per 100,000 procedures for all hysterectomy approaches and pathologies, except for open peripartum hysterectomy (666 events) and laparoscopic hysterectomy for malignancy (814 events). Surgeon inexperience was the prime risk factor for injury, and improved anatomical knowledge the leading preventative strategy.
Conclusions: Caesarean section and most types of hysterectomy carry low rates of urological injury. Obstetricians and gynaecologists should counsel the patient for her individual risk of injury, prospectively establish risk factors and implement preventative strategies.