Vacuum-assisted mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy: a new perspective in fragments clearance and intrarenal pressure control

Stefano Paolo Zanetti, Elena Lievore, Matteo Fontana, Matteo Turetti, Andrea Gallioli, Fabrizio Longo, Giancarlo Albo, Elisa De Lorenzis, Emanuele Montanari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: To describe the vacuum-assisted mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy (vmPCNL) technique performed via the 16Ch ClearPetra sheath, to evaluate its outcomes and to analyze intrarenal pressure (IRP) fluctuations during surgery. Methods: Data from all consecutive vmPCNL procedures from September 2017 to October 2019 were prospectively collected. Data included patients’ and stones characteristics, intra and peri-operative items, post-operative complications and stone clearance. Patients undergoing vmPCNL from March to October 2019 were submitted to IRP measurement during surgery. Results: A total of 122 vmPCNL procedures were performed. Median stone volume was 1.92 cm3. Median operative time was 90 min and median lithotripsy and lapaxy time was 28 min. Stone clearance rate was 71.3%. Thirty-one (25.2%) patients experienced post-operative complications, seven of which were Clavien 3. Postoperative fever occurred in nine (7.4%) patients and one (0.8%) needed a transfusion. No sepsis were observed. IRPs were measured in 22 procedures. Mean IRP was 15.3 cmH2O and median accumulative time with IRP > 40.78 cmH2O (pyelovenous backflow threshold) was 28.52 sec. Maximum IRP peaks were reached during the surgical steps when aspiration is closed (mainly pyelograms), whereas during lithotripsy and suction-mediated lapaxy, the threshold of 40.78 cmH2O was overcome in three procedures. Conclusions: vmPCNL is a safe procedure with satisfactory stone clearance rates. Mean IRP was always lower than the threshold of pyelo-venous backflow and the accumulative time with IRP over this limit was short in most of the procedures. During lithotripsy and vacuum-mediated lapaxy, IRP rarely raised over the threshold.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1717-1723
JournalWorld Journal of Urology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • Endourology
  • Intrarenal pressure
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy
  • Urolithiasis
  • Vacuum-assisted mini-PCNL

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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