Successful Surgery Scores a Touchdown

Jose Ochoa's successful surgery at Arkansas Children's Hospital scores a touchdown.Just by looking at 12-year-old Jose Ochoa of Bentonville, Ark. and his winning smile, you would never know he once suffered from a very painful obstruction of his left kidney that sidelined him from his favorite sport, football.

The Ochoa family moved to Bentonville in 2006. Juanita Ochoa, Jose's mother, said she and her husband wanted to give their four boys a better life. The Ochoa boys range in age from 4 years to 12 years old.

Jose experienced excruciating pain on his left side for several months. "On a scale of 1 to 10, my pain was a 10," he explains. "I was unable to play sports because of the pain and I missed a lot of school."

One Friday night, he had the worst pain he'd ever experienced, causing him to become sick to his stomach and cry from the intense pain. "We rushed him to the local emergency room and after three hours and multiple tests, they found the pain was due to an obstruction to the left kidney," recalls Juanita.

Jose was referred by a local urologist to Arkansas Children's Hospital. Jose met with Dr. Stephen Canon of the ACH Urology Department and he was given his official diagnosis: ureteropelvic junction obstruction, known as UPJ obstruction, which impedes the flow of urine draining from the kidney into the bladder.

UPJ is treated surgically. First, Dr. Canon widened the narrowed area of Jose's ureter through reconstruction and the placement of a stent. After around a month when the new connection that was made in reconstruction has healed, the stent was removed. Jose said he was "scared and nervous" when he learned he'd have to have surgery.

"UPJ is found most often in neonates while still in their mothers' womb," said Dr. Stephen Canon, pediatric urologist at Arkansas Children's Hospital, who is Jose's doctor. "When it's found in older children, they typically experience severe pain and vomiting, which is exactly what happened with Jose."

Arkansas Children's Hospital not only offers the only pediatric urology specialists in the state, our urologists also utilize a high-tech robot, called the Da Vinci robot, in many surgeries, which minimizes scarring and improves precision. Both of Jose's procedures were performed using the Da Vinci robot. "Jose has had a great result," notes Dr. Canon. "We see a 95-percent success rate following surgery for UPJ treatment."

Jose Ochoa shares his experience with the Urology Department at Arkansas Children's Hospital.

Jose remained at ACH for three days following his surgery and now sees Dr. Canon once a year for follow ups. Follow up visits are made easier on the family by their proximity to the ACH Lowell Clinic, where Dr. Canon and fellow urologists visit patients like Jose. Dr. Canon enjoys visiting his patients outside of the walls of the main Arkansas Children's Hospital campus via the ACH clinics in both Lowell and Jonesboro.

"Being able to visit patients where they live really helps minimize the interruption to the family's life. We're proud to be able to offer quality pediatric urology services through the Lowell Clinic." One can imagine that with four boys to manage, having the clinic nearby is a weight off of the Ochoa family's shoulders!

Of Jose's progress, Juanita says, "He is doing great! He is playing his favorite sport, which is football." While Jose was nervous about surgery, when asked what advice he would offer other patients who are facing a surgical procedure he offers, "I would tell them not to be scared because they (ACH) have awesome doctors."

"I truly would like to thank Dr. Canon, the Urology crew, everyone who assisted with the surgery and all of the staff at Arkansas Children's Hospital," said Juanita. "You are a true blessing, not only to my son, but to a lot of other kids!"

Learn more about the Urology Clinic at Arkansas Children's Hospital.