Differences in ureteroscopic stone treatment and outcomes for distal, mid-, proximal, or multiple ureteral locations: the Clinical Research Office of the Endourological Society ureteroscopy global study

Eur Urol. 2014 Jul;66(1):102-9. doi: 10.1016/j.eururo.2014.01.011. Epub 2014 Jan 23.


Background: Ureteroscopy has traditionally been the preferred approach for treatment of distal and midureteral stones, with shock wave lithotripsy used for proximal ureteral stones.

Objective: To describe the differences in the treatment and outcomes of ureteroscopic stones in different locations.

Design, setting, and participants: Prospective data were collected by the Clinical Research Office of the Endourological Society on consecutive patients treated with ureteroscopy at centres around the world over a 1-yr period.

Intervention: Ureteroscopy was performed according to study protocol and local clinical practice guidelines.

Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Stone location, treatment details, postoperative outcomes, and complications were recorded. Pearson's chi-square analysis and analysis of variance were used to compare outcomes among the different stone locations.

Results and limitations: Between January 2010 and October 2012, 9681 patients received ureteroscopy treatment for stones located in the proximal ureter (n=2656), midureter (n=1980), distal ureter (n=4479), or multiple locations (n=440); location in 126 patients was not specified. Semirigid ureteroscopy was predominantly used for all stone locations. Laser and pneumatic lithotripsy were used in the majority of cases. Stone-free rates were 94.2% for distal ureter locations, 89.4% for midureter locations, 84.5% for proximal ureter locations, and 76.6% for multiple locations. For the proximal ureter, failure and retreatment rates were significantly higher for semirigid ureteroscopy than for flexible ureteroscopy. A low incidence of intraoperative complications was reported (3.8-7.7%). Postoperative complications occurred in 2.5-4.6% of patients and varied according to location, with the highest incidence reported for multiple stone locations. Limitations include short-term follow-up and a nonuniform treatment approach.

Conclusions: Ureteroscopy for ureteral stones resulted in good stone-free rates with low morbidity.

Patient summary: This study shows that patients who have ureteral stones can be treated successfully with ureteroscopy with a low rate of complications for the patient.

Keywords: Complications; Treatment outcome; Ureteral stones; Ureteroscopy.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Observational Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Biomedical Research
  • Blood Loss, Surgical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lithotripsy, Laser
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Retreatment
  • Societies, Medical
  • Treatment Failure
  • Ureter / pathology*
  • Ureteral Calculi / pathology*
  • Ureteral Calculi / surgery*
  • Ureteroscopy* / adverse effects
  • Ureteroscopy* / instrumentation
  • Young Adult