Indian Journal of Urology Users online:228  
Home Current Issue Ahead of print Editorial Board Archives Symposia Guidelines Subscriptions Login 
Print this page  Email this page Small font sizeDefault font sizeIncrease font size

  Table of Contents 
Year : 2010  |  Volume : 26  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 580-581

Hem-o-Lok® clip eroding into the urethra following laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: A case report and review of literature

Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital, Nadiad, Gujarat, India

Date of Web Publication31-Dec-2010

Correspondence Address:
Mahesh R Desai
Muljibhai Patel Urological Hospital, Dr. V. V. Desai Road, Nadiad 387 001, Gujarat
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0970-1591.74468

Rights and Permissions


Hem-o-loc clips have been used for vascular control in laparoscopic surgery. We describe a case presenting with lower urinary tract symptoms after laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Evaluation revealed migrated hem-o-loc clips causing obstruction and symptoms in bladder neck region. Clip removal with endoscopy relieved the symptoms. Diagnosis warrants high index of suspicion as clips are radiolucent and other more common differential diagnosis like bladder neck contracture may have similar presentation. For the prevention, loose clips should be actively searched for and retrieved from abdomen and clip application near proposed anastomotic site should be avoided.

Keywords: Erosion, Hem-o-Lok, prostatectomy

How to cite this article:
Ganpule A, Dhawan DR, Desai MR. Hem-o-Lok® clip eroding into the urethra following laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: A case report and review of literature. Indian J Urol 2010;26:580-1

How to cite this URL:
Ganpule A, Dhawan DR, Desai MR. Hem-o-Lok® clip eroding into the urethra following laparoscopic radical prostatectomy: A case report and review of literature. Indian J Urol [serial online] 2010 [cited 2022 May 17];26:580-1. Available from:

   Introduction Top

Securing of pedicles during radical prostatectomy prompts for preferential use of athermal means to avert injury to the neurovascular bundle. The use of Hem-o-Lock (Weck Surgical Instruments, Teleflex Medical, Durham, NC) clips (HOLC) has been well-described for the purpose. In the past 2 years, there have been a few reports describing erosion of these clips in the urethra causing obstruction. We describe the presentation, treatment offered in our case, and discuss the possible methods to avoid this complication.

   Case Report Top

A 56-year-old male patient underwent laparoscopic radical prostatectomy (LRP) for localized carcinoma prostate (T2bN0M0).The urethrovesical anastomosis was performed using two monocryl sutures tied at the center. Suturing started at six o'clock position and subsequently finished extravesically at 12 o'clock. All the surgical margins were free and the Gleason score was three + three. Intraoperatively, the lateral pedicles were secured with hemolock clips [Figure 1]a, b. Following the retrieval of specimen, an arterial bleeder near the transected urethra was secured with a Hem-o-Lok clip.

Three months after the surgery, the patient presented with obstructive lower urinary tract symptoms. An ascending urethrogram revealed obstruction at the level of bladder neck. On cystoscopy, the anterior urethra was normal. There was a narrowing at the anastomotic site and two Hem-o-Lok clips were seen protruding in the urethra [Figure 1]c. Clips were removed with a forceps [Figure 2] a-d and the anastomotic segment dilated with a balloon dilator (6 atm for 4 min). Postoperatively, he voided with a good flow. Subsequently, he required recystoscopy and urethral balloon dilatation at 2 years' followup for the recurrence of LUTS and now remains asymptomatic at 3 years post-LRP.
Figure 1 :(a, b) Hem-o-Loc clip application in the region of vesicourethral anastomosis; (c) postoperative ascending urethrogram at 3 months showing anastomotic narrowing

Click here to view
Figure 2 :(a-d) Cystoscopic view of intruded Hem-o-Loc clips and removal of clips with the help of forceps

Click here to view

   Discussion Top

In a series of over 500 LRPs, two of the bladder neck contractures (BNCs) were associated with HOLC migration and erosion into the vesicourethral anastomosis-one evidenced migration in bladder and one patient developed an anastomotic leak secondary to an HOLC that migrated into the bladder neck. Authors suggested that if early BNC or unexplained urinary retention occurs after LRP, one should have a high index of suspicion for migration of HOLC. Clip use should be minimized on tissue immediately adjacent to the anastomosis, and every effort should be made to retrieve loose clips after the procedure. [1] The authors in the same article have reviewed the data from the United States food and drug administration manufacturer and user facility device database (MAUDE) to identify similar cases. The authors following this incidence abstain from use of Hem-Lok clips in the vicinity of the seminal vesicle and the vas deference. [1]

Moser et al . report two cases of urethral erosion of Hem-o-Lok clips after robot-assisted laparoscopic prostatectomy in patients who presented with symptoms of BNC. [2]

In a case report described by Tunnard et al , a 67-year-old gentleman returned 8 months after LRP followup due to intractable urinary symptoms. At this stage, the patient was planned for a rigid cystoscopy and bladder neck dilatation; during the procedure, a Hem-o-Lok® (Weck Surgical Instruments, Teleflex Medical, Durham, NC) was found in the bladder, having migrated from the urethrovesical anastomosis, and was successfully removed. On repeat cystoscopy 3 months later, a further Hem-o-Lock clip was found eroded through the vesicourethral anastomosis and was successfully removed with the aid of a holmium laser. [3]

In our opinion, Hem-o-Lok® clips should not be used for control of bleeders at the bladder neck and in the vicinity of the urethrovesical anastomosis. If at all they are applied, all such clips should be removed before commencing the vesicourethral anastomosis. All attempts should be made to remove any loose lying clips in the abdomen as literature suggests that they have the potential to migrate. [3]

All patients with persistent lower urinary tract symptoms should be evaluated for such migrated clips. Cystoscopy is an important tool to evaluate such patients. This becomes significant in view of radiolucent nature of HOLC. Literature [ 3] suggests that these clips can also be removed with the help of Holmium laser, the advantage being of hemostasis if required, nevertheless in our case we have retrieved the clips with a nephroscope and a forcep.

   References Top

1.Blumenthala KB, Sutherlanda DE, Wagnerb K, Fraziera HA, Engela JD. Bladder neck contractures related to the use of Hem-o-lok clips in robot-assisted laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. Urology 2008;72:158-61.  Back to cited text no. 1
2.Moser RL, Narepalem N. Erosion of Hem-o-Lok clips at the bladder neck after robot-assisted radical prostatectomy. J Endourol 2009;23:949-51.   Back to cited text no. 2
3.Tunnard GJ, Biyani CS. An unusual complication of a Hem-o-lok clip (R) following laparoscopic radical prostatectomy. J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A 2009 in press.  Back to cited text no. 3


  [Figure 1], [Figure 2]


Print this article  Email this article


    Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
    Article in PDF (1,038 KB)
    Citation Manager
    Access Statistics
    Reader Comments
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    Case Report
    Article Figures

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded83    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal