Retrograde intrarenal surgery as second-line therapy yields a lower success rate

R. Holland, D. Marcel, P. M. Livne, D. M. Lask, David A. Lifshitz*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Purpose: Retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS) is a recent addition to the treatment options for renal calculi. Therefore, the indications, as well as the predictors of success, are still being studied. Herein, we report a retrospective comparison of RIRS performed as the primary treatment and as second-line therapy, mostly after shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) failure. Patients and Methods: Between October 2001 and August 2004, 93 patients underwent RIRS (11% of all ureteroscopies), all by the same surgeon. Patients were divided into two groups: group 1 (n = 42) consisted of patients undergoing RIRS as a first-line modality and group 2 (n = 51) of those having RIRS as second-line therapy. The indications for RIRS in group 1 were renal calculi with prior placement of a double-J stent (30%), renal + ureteral stone (25%), pusliback of ureteral stone during ureteroscopy (22%), a radiolucent stone (8%), coagulopathy, and abnormal renal anatomy. In group 2, the patients were initially treated by SWL (92%) or percutaneous nephrolithotomy. The groups did not differ significantly in demographic characteristics, mean stone size (9.5 and 8.7 mm, respectively), or stone location (in both 60% in the lower pole). The variables analyzed were operating time, complications, length of hospitalization, and stone-free rate. Results: The overall stone-free rate was 73%. However, the stone-free rate was significantly higher in group 1 than in group 2: 80% v 67%, respectively. A higher complication rate and longer hospitalization were noted in group 2, although the difference was not statistically significant. Conclusions: When RIRS is performed after failed SWL, it has a lower success rate and may be associated with a higher morbidity rate than if it is performed as first-line therapy. These results suggest that the success rate of RIRS may be influenced by the same negative factors that reduce SWL success. Therefore, if a patient fails SWL, careful consideration should be given to the best second-line therapy comparing RIRS with percutaneous stone removal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)556-559
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Endourology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006


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