MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – When Kaylyn Faidley of Cumberland, Maryland, went for a routine ultrasound during her pregnancy, she found out that her daughter, Karlie, had right side hydronephrosis, a dilation or swelling of the right kidney. In most cases, this condition resolves on its own. In Karlie’s case, it caused frequent pain and urinary tract infections.
At the age of 18 months, Karlie was referred to Osama Al-Omar, M.D., M.B.A., chief of pediatric urology at WVU Medicine Children’s, for treatment. Initially, Karlie was monitored for the condition, but, over time, the hydronephrosis worsened, and she was diagnosed with uteropelvic junction obstruction, a condition that presents on prenatal ultrasounds as dilation of the kidney.
“We decided to just watch and see because Karlie was so young,” Kaylyn said. “We monitored her kidney dilation for almost a year, and her kidney was larger at each scan. After 10 months of watching, we decided to let Dr. Al-Omar perform surgery to fix the problem.”
When Karlie was two years old, Al-Omar performed robotic surgery using the da Vinci surgical system to repair her ureter and reconnect it to the kidney. The traditional approach to this repair is an open procedure that requires a three-to-four centimeter flank incision, more pain medicine, and a long recovery time. With robotic surgery, Al-Omar was able to perform the repair laparoscopically with four tiny laparoscopic incisions, which leave smaller scars.
“Karlie was a perfect candidate for robotic surgery,” Al-Omar said. “This technology allows us to perform a sophisticated reconstructive surgery through tiny incisions with a high success rate. WVU Medicine Children’s is the only institution in the state that provides this advanced technology for children.”
Because of the minimally invasive nature of the surgery, Karlie was able to go home less than a day later. She had a temporary stent in her ureter to help the repair heal. It was removed after four weeks.
“If anyone ever questions having the surgery, I always tell them how well she handled everything and about the great staff at WVU Medicine Children’s,” Kaylyn said. “I would honestly recommend them to anyone.”
Karlie will continue to be monitored to make sure her kidney continues to function properly, but she is growing normally and has been healthy since the procedure.
WVU Medicine Children’s – currently located on the sixth floor of J.W. Ruby Memorial Hospital, WVU Medicine’s flagship hospital – provides maternal, infant, and pediatric care for West Virginia and the surrounding region, giving care to high-risk mothers, premature infants, and children with life-threatening conditions through adolescence to adulthood. In 2020, WVU Medicine Children’s will move into a new tower and ambulatory care center to be attached to Ruby Memorial. For more information, including ways to support the $60-million capital campaign for Children’s new home, visit wvumedicine.org/childrens.