The aim of this retrospective study was to evaluate the efficacy of ureteroscopic lithotripsy (URSL) and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in the treatment of middle and lower ureteric stones. From January 1996 to March 1997, 61 patients treated by URSL and 49 patients treated by ESWL were studied, both were conducted as outpatient procedures. URSL using Holmium laser and semirigid ureteroscope (Fr.8.5) performed under general anaesthesia had single session stone clearance rates of 100% and 95% for middle and lower stones respectively. There were 6 complications including 5 readmissions (2 febrile episodes, 2 severe pain spells, and 1 stent migration) and 1 stricture formation. ESWL using the Dornier MFL 5000 lithotriptor had a single session success rate of 51% and overall success rate of 78% after retreatment (retreatment rate 35%). No significant complication or readmission was noted. Seventy-two per cent of patients required intravenous fentanyl for pain control. The efficiency quotients calculated for the URSL group and the ESWL group were 97% and 58% respectively. In summary, in the treatment of middle and lower ureteric calculi, ESWL carries reasonable success rate, especially with retreatment; and minimal morbidity. On the other hand, URSL is highly effective in rapidly clearing the stones, a low risk of complication is noted. Both can be conducted as an outpatient treatment modality.
Significant technological advances have been made in the management of ureteric calculi. The newer semirigid, fibreoptic ureteroscopes can now be passed with minimal trauma and in many cases without dilatation.
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