Introduction: Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the treatment modality of choice of many urologists for proximal ureteric calculi. In this study, we compared the efficacy and safety of ESWL versus ureteroscopy with holmium laser lithotripsy for the treatment of this group of stones.Materials and Methods: Between May 1999 and October 2000, 50 patients had ESWL and another 51 patients underwent ureteroscopy with holmium laser lithotripsy for proximal ureteric calculi. The two groups were similar in age, sex ratio and stone size. ESWL was performed with the Dornier Compact lithotriptor whereas holmium laser lithotripsy was performed via retrograde ureteric access with a Wolf 7.5 Fr semirigid ureteroscope. Results: Ureteroscopy with holmium laser lithotripsy was significantly better in terms of the mean procedure time (56 min in ESWL; 25 min in ureteroscopy; P <0.001) and the 1-month stone free rate (50% in ESWL; 80% in ureteroscopy; P = 0.001). The 3-month stone free rate was also higher for ureteroscopy (78% in ESWL; 90% in ureteroscopy) but this difference was not statistically significant (P = 0.09). Minor complications of steinstrasse (6%) occurred in ESWL and proximal stone migration (8%) occurred during ureteroscopy. Conclusion: Ureteroscopy with holmium laser lithotripsy is a viable and safe alternative to ESWL for the management of proximal ureteric calculi.
The introduction of extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) by Chaussy and his co-workers in 1980 revolutionised the management of urinary calculi. Since then, ESWL has become the modality of choice of many urologists for proximal ureteric calculi.
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