Rapid, economical treatment of large impacted calculi in the proximal ureter with ballistic ureteral lithotripsy and occlusive, percutaneous balloon catheter: the high pressure irrigation technique.J Urol. 2007 Sep; 178(3 Pt 1):929-33; discussion 933-4.JU
We describe our innovative technique for the treatment of large calculi (greater than 1.5 cm) of the proximal ureter.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Between 2003 and 2005 we positioned an 8Ch pyelostomy in 25 patients diagnosed with impacted calculi of the proximal ureter greater than 1.5 cm on ultrasound, direct x-ray of the abdomen, and/or computerized tomography and subsequent retrograde pyelography. After 30 days all patients underwent combined treatment in the Valdivia supine position, including positioning a 0.035-inch guidewire through the pyelostomy into the ureter up to above the calculus, pyelostomy removal and insertion onto the guide of a 7Ch balloon occlusion catheter, which was inflated in the ureter immediately above the calculus. Ureteral lithotripsy was done with an 8.5 to 11.5Ch ureteroscope (Wolf, Dudley, Massachusetts) with a 6Ch operating channel and a Calcusplit ballistic probe, alternating high antegrade pressure by the balloon catheter and retrograde pressure using the ureteroscope, as required. After lithotripsy and fragment dislocation the ureteroscope was retracted with rapid flow antegrade irrigation. At the end of the procedure after antegrade contrast medium followup the balloon catheter was retracted as far as the pelvis as a nephrostomy. We analyzed operative time, the number of postoperative recovery days, the incidence of complications during and after surgery, and the stone-free rate immediately, after 5 days and after 1 month.
Average calculus size was 1.7 cm. Ten patients presented with multiple ureteral bending upon diagnosis, which was no longer found at surgery with a consequent lack of difficult ureteroscope feeding. Significant edema downstream of the calculus was present in all cases. High pressure irrigation, a rigid ballistic probe and retrieving forceps enabled the dislocation of even larger fragments from the original calculous site in all cases. Antegrade high pressure irrigation after lithotripsy enabled the complete clearance of calcareous fragments as far as the bladder without the need for ancillary maneuvers. We observed no cases of calcareous fragment push-back. No retroperitoneal extravasation, or pyelolymphatic or pyelovenous backflow was observed. Average procedure time was 33 minutes. The renal-ureteral stone-free rate was 100% at the end of the procedure and all calcareous fragments were in the bladder. We did not observe any ureteral lesions. In no case was there onset of fever. Average postoperative hospitalization was 2 days. Followup with contrast material after 5 days showed a renal-ureteral stone-free rate of 100% and a bladder stone-free rate of 84%. The nephrostomy was removed at an average of 5.5 days.
Compared to the techniques described in the medical literature our method appears to have certain advantages, including a mini-invasive approach to the renal pelvis compared to that of percutaneous nephrolithotomy with protection of the renal parenchyma from high pressure, rigid ureteroscope use, which provides a high level of maneuverability and low operating costs, ballistic probe use, which provides lower costs and higher speeds than the laser, and balloon catheter use, which removes the risk of push-back and enables push-down of the fragments without any further ancillary maneuvers. The balloon catheter also enables contrast medium followup and immediate postoperative drainage. The speed of the procedure and the ability to adjust antegrade or retrograde flow with variable pressure and direction make this technique highly suitable for the complete resolution of large, impacted calculi of the proximal ureter.