Purpose: We conducted a prospective, randomized controlled study to investigate the advantages and disadvantages of ureteral stenting after ureteroscopic lithotripsy.
Materials and methods: A total of 60 patients who underwent ureteroscopic lithotripsy were equally randomized into a stented or a nonstented group. The inclusion criteria were stone 6 to 10 mm., absence of polyp or stricture in the ureter and no mucosal injury during ureteroscopy. The operation was performed with a 6Fr rigid ureteroscope without ureteral dilation and stones were fragmented with a 1.9Fr electrohydraulic lithotriptor without extraction. A 7Fr double pigtail stent was placed in the stented group for 3 days after ureteroscopy. Urinalysis, plain x-ray and renosonography were performed before and after lithotripsy in each patient. Subjective symptoms and pain score were recorded on admission to the hospital and 3 days postoperatively.
Results: The stone-free rate was 100% in each group and preoperative hydronephrosis equally resolved in both groups. Mean pain score plus or minus standard deviation improved significantly in the nonstented (6.33 +/- 1.81 preoperatively to 2.30 +/- 1.93 postoperatively, paired Student's t test p <0.0001) and stented (7.10 +/- 1.03 to 2.30 +/- 2.22, p < 0.0001) group. There was no statistical difference in pain reduction between the 2 groups (p = 0.18). The amount of extra parenteral analgesic used was similar in both groups. One patient in the nonstented group visited the emergency room for postoperative renal colic, 25 (83.3%) patients in the stented group complained of at least 1 irritative bladder symptom and only 4 (13.3%) in the nonstented group experienced bladder discomfort.
Conclusions: After uncomplicated ureteroscopic electrohydraulic lithotripsy patients without ureteral stenting tend to have similar renal function recovery and satisfactory pain reduction with less irritative symptoms compared to those treated with a ureteral stent. We suggest that it is not necessary to place a ureteral stent routinely after uncomplicated ureteroscopic electrohydraulic lithotripsy for stones smaller than 1 cm.