Long-term results of intrarenal surgery for branched calculi: Is such surgery still valid?

F. Rocco, M. Casu, L. Carmignani, A. Trinchieri, A. Mandressi, P. Larcher, F. Gadda

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Objective: To evaluate whether intrarenal surgery for branched calculi remains valid in the light of current new techniques, e.g. percutaneous nephrolithotomy and extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy. Patients and methods: Between January 1978 and October 1984, 44 patients (24 male and 20 female, mean age 42.5 years, range 14-66) underwent complex surgery for large stones, requiring opening of the renal pelvis and a transparenchymal approach to the calices; 47 renal units were operated in 49 procedures. The evaluation before surgery included creatinine and blood nitrogen levels, blood pressure measurement, urine culture, abdominal plain X-ray (44 patients), intravenous urography (42) and isotopic renography with renal scintigraphy (five). Renal lithiasis was categorized and all patients underwent extended pyelolithotomy with a transparenchymal approach, achieved by partial nephrectomy (six patients), radial paravascular nephrotomy (10), posterior lower nephrolithotomy (29), resection of the posterior segment (two), and posterior segmentotomy and reconstruction (2); 16 operations were performed under ischaemia. In October 1996, the patients were clinically evaluated by serum creatinine levels (42), urine cultures (42), abdominal plain X-ray (42), IVU (34), isotopic renography (eight), renal ultrasonography (eight) and blood pressure measurement (44). The mean follow-up was 14.8 years. Results The major postoperative complications were; residual stones (six patients), fistula with ureteric stenosis (one, with a permanent nephrostomy), toxic temporary hepatic failure (one), femoral arterial embolism (one, resolved using a Fogarty catheter) and recurrent large stones (two, operated 1 and 5 years later). From 1984 to 1996, 19 patients had recurrent stones and two underwent dialysis. In October 1996, the renal function of 47 renal units was stable or normal in 36 (77%), reduced in seven (15%) and lost in four (8%); 24 patients were hypertensive (12 preoperatively), nine have urinary tract infection, three are positive for hepatitis B or C virus, and lithiasis has recurred in 15 renal units. Conclusions Intrarenal surgery, conducted using modern anatomical guidelines, was an effective treatment for renal branched stones. The long-term results are satisfactory after appropriate correction of the urinary tract, with the consequent prevention of stasis and chronic infection. The definitive comparison between surgical and combined endoscopic/extracorporeal methods will only become clear when there is a comparable follow-up. Currently, surgery remains preferable in patients with giant calculi, a small pelvis and prevalent calyceal development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)796-800
Number of pages5
JournalBritish Journal of Urology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1998


  • Follow-up
  • Intrarenal surgery
  • Long-term results
  • Staghorn renal stones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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