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J Urol. 1991 Sep;146(3):721-3.

Renal calculi in lower pole calices: what is the best method of treatment?

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  • 1Division of Urology, Hospital Israelita Albert Einstein, São Paulo, Brazil.


Percutaneous nephrolithotomy and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL*) can be used in the treatment of lower pole caliceal calculi. In a retrospective analysis these 2 therapies were compared for treatment of solitary lower pole caliceal calculi to evaluate morbidity. During a 2-year period 23 patients treated with percutaneous nephrolithotomy and 24 who underwent ESWL with the Siemens Lithostar were analyzed in regard to the success rate, effectiveness quotient, complication rate, length of hospitalization and disability period. Followup consisted of ultrasound and/or a plain film of the kidneys, ureters and bladder 1 day and 1 to 3 months postoperatively. A nephrotomogram was included in the ESWL group. Complete removal of all stone fragments was achieved in 93.6% of the patients treated percutaneously without retreatment. In the ESWL group the success rate was 79.2% with a 41.6% retreatment rate. On the other hand, the ESWL group had a shorter hospitalization and an earlier return to normal physical activities. Among the patients who underwent a percutaneous operation 13% had complications compared to 4.1% in the ESWL group. The recurrence rate was higher in the former group (13% within a median of 18 months, compared to 8.3% within a median of 11 months in the ESWL group). The mean stone diameter was 1.42 cm. in the percutaneous group and 1.22 cm. in the ESWL group. Stone composition was similar in both groups. Since ESWL is an effective noninvasive procedure without the need for routine anesthesia and hospitalization, and with prompt return of the patient to a normal life it must be considered the method of choice for lower caliceal stones less than 2 cm. in diameter. However, percutaneous nephrolithotomy will continue to have a primary role in the management of larger stones.

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