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We established whether totally tubeless percutaneous nephrolithotomy with no nephrostomy or ureteral stent is a safe management technique. Patients were randomized to have a nephrostomy placed (group 1 control) or none (group 2 treatment). A total of 25 patients were randomized to each group. Cases were considered uncomplicated and suitable for randomization if there was no significant bleeding or residual stone load, the pelvicaliceal system was intact and there was no evidence of a residual ureteral stone. The primary outcome measure was length of stay, and secondary outcomes were analgesic requirements and postoperative complications such as bleeding, infection or ureteral obstruction. Hospital readmission rates and stone clearance rates were also recorded. Mean stone size was 21.6 vs 17.5 mm. There were no transfusions in either group. Hemoglobin change was 2.03 vs 1.18 gm/dl and mean creatinine increase was 0.029 vs -0.111 mg/dl. There were no differences in hemorrhage, infection and serum parameters. There were no readmissions in either group. Mean length of stay was 3.4 vs 2.3 days (p <0.05). This trial demonstrates that percutaneous nephrolithotomy without nephrostomy or stent is a safe and well tolerated procedure in selected patients. Length of stay was reduced with no major complications in either group. We believe that totally tubeless percutaneous nephrolithotomy may be considered an accepted standard of care for selected cases and it is possible to reserve placement of a nephrostomy tube or internal ureteral stent for specific indications.


T J Crook, C R Lockyer, S R Keoghane, B H Walmsley. A randomized controlled trial of nephrostomy placement versus tubeless percutaneous nephrolithotomy. The Journal of urology. 2008 Aug;180(2):612-4

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PMID: 18554657

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