Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy in the treatment of ureteral lithiasis: methodological controversies and therapeutic efficacy.

G. Zanetti, M. Seveso, E. Montanari, A. Guarneri, F. Rovera, A. Trinchieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The treatment of ureteral stones has undergone a radical change in the last 15 years. First, the increased use of endoscopic procedures and then the introduction of extracorporeal lithotripsy relegated traditional surgery to a marginal role for this type of disorder. The best available treatment modality for ureteral lithiasis, particularly distal ureteral stones, is still a matter of great controversy among urologist. With the introduction in clinical use of second- and third generation lithotripters, which are even less invasive and require no anesthesia, interest has increased in treating patients by extracorporeal lithotripsy, reducing endoscopic monoeuvres to a minimum. The absolute contraindications to extracorporeal lithotripsy for ureteral stones are the same as those for renal stones: intractable hemostatic alterations, pregnancy, physical structure that limits positioning and altered patency of the urinary tract. From June 1990 to December 1994, 270 patients with ureteral stones were treated by extracorporeal lithotripsy at our center. The Dornier MPL 9000 lithotripter was used in 68 cases (25%) and the modified HM3 Dornier in 202 (75%). Pretreatment manoeuvres were performed in 130 patients (48%). Endoscopic manoeuvres were not performed in 140 patients treated in situ. 18 patients (13%) treated initially in situ subsequently underwent post-treatment manoeuvres which were required only in 3 patients who had undergone pretreatment. All patients were examined as outpatients 3 months after the treatment. A total of 241 patients (89%) were stone free, 121 who had undergone pretreatment manoeuvres and 119 who had been treated in situ. 29 patients (11%) were not stone free: 23 patients subsequently underwent endoscopic lithotripsy, 2 surgery and 4 stone removal by Dormia probe. The possibility of performing treatment without anesthesia, the absence of complications and the high proportion of successes make extracorporeal lithotripsy, particularly the in situ procedure, the treatment of choice for ureteral stones. Ureterorenoscopy has been proposed by some authors as the first treatment for mid and pelvic ureteral stones which are difficult to localize with the lithotripter. However, although this method is very efficacious and less expensive, the percentage of complications is greater and patient compliance is less.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-282
Number of pages6
JournalArchivio Italiano di Urologia e Andrologia
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Nephrology
  • Urology


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