Objective: To define the role of ureteroscopy for treatment of staghorn calculi.
Methods: A systematic review was conducted using the Scopus and Medline databases. Original articles and systematic reviews were selected according to Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses (PRISMA) guidelines. Only studies relating to the role of ureteroscopy for treatment of staghorn calculi were included.
Results: In five studies on ureteroscopic monotherapy, stone-free rate (SFR) ranged from 33% to 93%, with a maximum four ureteroscopy sessions per patient and no major complications. Endoscopic combined intrarenal surgery (ECIRS) was compared with percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNL) in two studies and reached significantly higher SFR (88%-91% vs. 59%-65%) and lower operative times (84-110 min vs. 105-129 min). The role of salvage ureteroscopy for residual stones after primary PNL has been highlighted by two studies with a final SFR of 83%-89%. One study reported on the feasibility of ureteroscopy for ureteral stones and same-session PNL for contralateral staghorn calculi, with a SFR of 92%.
Conclusion: Ureteroscopy plays a pivotal role in the setting of a combined approach to staghorn calculi. Ureteroscopy is also particularly suitable for clearance of residual stones. In specific cases, ureteroscopy may become the sole applicable therapeutic option to staghorn calculi. Technological advances and refinement of techniques suggest a major role of ureteroscopy for staghorn calculi treatment in close future.
Keywords: Combined approach; Intrarenal surgery; Percutaneous nephrolithotomy; Simultaneous bilateral endoscopic surgery; Staghorn calculi; Ureteroscopy.