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Urology. 1997 Dec;50(6):875-80.

Holmium:YAG laser endoureterotomy for treatment of ureteral stricture.

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Division of Urology, Toronto East General Hospital, Ontario, Canada.



Endourologic techniques ranging from balloon dilation to endoincision with electrocautery, cold knife, and lasers have been increasingly used in recent years for the treatment of ureteral strictures. While the long-term results may not be as reliable or as durable as traditional reconstructive surgical techniques, they can be accomplished with much less morbidity. Recently, the holmium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (YAG) laser, which possesses both cutting and coagulating properties, has been demonstrated to have many applications in urology. We report our experience with this laser in the endoscopic treatment of ureteral strictures.


We reviewed the charts and follow-up history of 22 patients in whom the holmium:YAG laser was used to treat ureteral strictures from a variety of causes and including those in ureteroenteric anastomoses. Strictures were either approached in a retrograde fashion with a 6.9F ureteroscope or antegrade with flexible instruments in the cases involving ureteroenteric strictures. The only energy source employed was the laser, followed by balloon dilation. Indwelling stents were left in place for at least 4 weeks postoperatively and follow-up was obtained with radiographic imaging.


A minimum 9-month follow-up was available for 18 patients. There were 5 patients who had developed recurrent strictures and were therefore considered treatment failures. Each of these patients failed in less than 3 months and all had either lengthy or complex strictures noted at the time of surgery. One patient was lost to follow-up and three recent patients have follow-up of 3 to 6 months showing no evidence of recurrent stricture formation. Overall, 16 of 21 (76%) patients are clinically well with no evidence of stricture recurrence.


Endoureterotomy for ureteral stricture disease is a minimally invasive, less morbid, but ultimately less successful, alternative to open surgical reconstruction. Stricture length and etiology remain the most important determinants of success. The holmium:YAG laser, with its ability to precisely cut tissue and provide hemostasis and its multiuse potential and compatibility with small rigid and flexible endoscopic instruments, is an ideal tool for performing endoureterotomy.

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