Skip to Content (Press Enter)
Posterior urethral valves

About posterior urethral valves 

The urethra is a tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. Sometimes, extra flaps of tissue grow along the urethra. This tissue (also called valves or membranes) can keep urine from draining completely out of the bladder. If the bladder doesn’t empty all the way, serious health complications can occur, including kidney and bladder damage. 

Our team of urologists at Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU has experience diagnosing and treating posterior urethral valves. We work side by side with the children and families we see every day, along with specialists across our nephrology department, to ensure your child receives care that meets their exact needs.  

Are posterior urethral valves common in children? 

Posterior urethral valves (PUV) affects boys. This condition occurs in roughly 1 in 8,000 baby boys. 

Causes of posterior urethral valves 

There are no clear causes of PUV. It is a congenital condition, which means a boy is born with PUV. Researchers think that PUV happens during the early stages of fetal development.  

Signs of posterior urethral valves 

Your child may be diagnosed with PUV in utero, shortly after birth or even later in life, depending on the severity of their condition. An ultrasound during pregnancy may detect signs of PUV, including hydronephrosis [link to page] (enlargement of parts of the kidneys). Your doctor will order additional testing to monitor your child’s development throughout your pregnancy.  

Symptoms of PUV after birth (and into childhood) may include: 

What can you do about posterior urethral valves? 

There are many effective treatments and therapies to help manage PUV. Your child’s treatment plan will depend on the severity of the condition and symptoms. Sometimes, surgery is needed to improve the function of the kidney and bladder. Surgical options include: 

  • Valve ablation – A minimally invasive procedure that collapses the valves so urine can flow more freely along the urethra 
  • Vesicostomy – A small slit in the belly that allows urine to drain out of the bladder 

Our team of urologists, nephrologists and specialists will care for your child as they reach adulthood. Regular check-ups, including ultrasounds and testing, allow us to monitor your child’s kidney and bladder function and adjust treatments as needed.  

Learn more about CHoR’s approach to treating PUV