Drilling through impacted ureteral stones: Use of the atherectomy rotablator device for urolithiasis

Aria A. Razmaria, David A. Lifshitz, Ofer N. Gofrit, Sergey Shikanov, Arieh L. Shalhav, Glenn Gerber, Naeem Bhojani, Kevin C. Zorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: The Rotablator® is an angioplasty device that is passed over a wire. It uses a high-speed rotational "burr" (2? mm in diameter) that is coated with microscopic diamond particles and cooled by saline. It rotates at high speed (approximately 200,000? rpm) breaking up endovascular blockage into minute (smaller than red blood cells) fragments. We investigated, in vitro and ex vivo, the possible use of the Rotablator for urinary stone disease. Materials and Methods: Human stones of different sizes and composition were used for the experiment. Stone impaction in vitro was modeled by wedging the stones into the proximal part of a 16F silicone Foley catheter. Likewise, an ex-vivo study was performed on stones placed into a freshly harvested swine ureter using a nitinol basket. Data regarding the drill time, remaining stone size, and ureteral damage were collected. Results: Overall, 15 stones were treated (10 in vitro and 5 ex vivo). The device successfully drilled through all the stones, along the path of the guidewire, allowing complete passage of the burr. The pretreatment mean stone size for the silicone and ureteral testing was 65? mm3 and 34? mm3, respectively (both P? <? 0.01). The post-treatment size was 54? mm3 and 24? mm3, respectively. Average treatment time was 100 seconds. No visual macroscopic ureteral damage or perforation was observed. Conclusions: In vitro, the Rotablator is capable of drilling through stones with minimal damage. Drilling, however, occurred alongside the stone in which the guidewire was located and, thus, stone fragmentation appears to be minimal. Further studies are necessary to investigate other burr configurations and the use of the Rotablator for the fluoroscopic-guided passage of ureteral impaction in difficult clinical settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1141-1144
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Endourology
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


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