Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery Versus Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy Versus Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy for Treatment of Lower Pole Renal Stones: A Meta-Analysis and Systematic Review

J Endourol. 2015 Jul;29(7):745-59. doi: 10.1089/end.2014.0799. Epub 2015 Feb 5.


Background and purpose: The optimal treatment of patients with lower pole renal stones continues to be a dilemma for urologists. Retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS), percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) all constitute viable therapeutic options in selected patients. The aim of this study was to assess the efficacy and safety of RIRS, PCNL, and SWL in management of lower pole renal stones.

Methods: A literature search was performed in July 2014 using PubMed, Embase, and Web of Science databases. Literature reviewed included meta-analysis and randomized and nonrandomized controlled studies to identify relevant studies for the meta-analysis.

Results: Six randomized and eight nonrandomized studies were identified for analysis. PCNL provided a significantly higher stone-free rate (SFR) compared with RIRS and SWL. Furthermore, no statistical significant difference was found when PCNL was compared with RIRS and SWL for complication rate. Compared with the other two treatments, RIRS had a longer operative time and PCNL had a longer hospital stay. SWL was associated with significantly higher re-treatment rate compared with RIRS and PCNL, whereas there were no significant differences in auxiliary procedure rates among the three treatment techniques.

Conclusion: RIRS offers a relative higher SFR while it has a longer operative time. PCNL is associated with the highest SFR at the expense of the longest hospital stay. SWL is performed as an outpatient procedure with a relative shorter operative time; however, it has lower a SFR and higher re-treatment rate. The categories of complications vary while the overall complication rates are comparable among the three treatment techniques.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / therapy*
  • Lithotripsy / methods*
  • Nephrostomy, Percutaneous / methods*
  • Operative Time
  • Patient Selection
  • Retreatment / statistics & numerical data
  • Safety
  • Treatment Outcome