Direct Endoscopic Visualization Combined With Ultrasound Guided Access During Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: A Feasibility Study and Comparison to a Conventional Cohort

J Urol. 2016 Jul;196(1):227-33. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2016.01.118. Epub 2016 Feb 22.


Purpose: Percutaneous nephrolithotomy access may be technically challenging and result in significant radiation exposure. In an attempt to reduce percutaneous nephrolithotomy radiation exposure, a novel technique combining ultrasound and direct ureteroscopic visualization was developed and reviewed.

Materials and methods: Ureteroscopy without fluoroscopy was used to determine the optimal calyx for access, which was punctured with a Chiba needle under percutaneous ultrasound guidance. Next a wire was passed into the collecting system and ureteroscopically pulled into the ureter using a basket. Tract dilation and sheath and nephrostomy tube placement were performed under direct ureteroscopic visualization. Twenty consecutive patients undergoing this novel technique were reviewed and compared to 20 matched patients treated with conventional percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Mann-Whitney U and Pearson chi-square tests were used for comparisons with p <0.05 considered significant.

Results: Using this novel technique mean fluoroscopy access time was 3.5 seconds (range 0 to 27.9) and mean total fluoroscopic time was 8.8 seconds (range 0 to 47.1). Mean operative time was 232 minutes (range 87 to 533), estimated blood loss was 111 ml, the stone-free rate was 65% and the complication rate was 25%. Compared to 20 matched conventional percutaneous nephrolithotomy cases, there was no difference in operative time (p=0.76), estimated blood loss (p=0.64), stone-free rate (p=0.50) or complications (p=1.00). However, the novel technique resulted in a significant reduction in fluoroscopy access time (3.5 vs 915.5 seconds, p <0.001) and total fluoroscopy time (8.8 vs 1,028.7 seconds, p <0.001).

Conclusions: This study demonstrates the feasibility of combined ultrasound and ureteroscopic assisted access for percutaneous nephrolithotomy. A greater than 99% reduction in fluoroscopy time was achieved using this technique.

Keywords: fluoroscopy; nephrostomy, percutaneous; radiation protection; ultrasonography; ureteroscopy.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Feasibility Studies
  • Female
  • Fluoroscopy
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nephrolithotomy, Percutaneous / methods*
  • Operative Time
  • Radiation Exposure / prevention & control
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Ultrasonography, Interventional*
  • Ureteroscopy*