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Article of the Week: Comparing FG, USG and CG for renal access in mini-PCNL

Every week the Editor-in-Chief selects an Article of the Week from the current issue of BJUI. The abstract is reproduced below and you can click on the button to read the full article, which is freely available to all readers for at least 30 days from the time of this post.

In addition to the article itself, there is an accompanying editorial written by a prominent member of the urological community. This blog is intended to provoke comment and discussion and we invite you to use the comment tools at the bottom of each post to join the conversation.

Finally, the third post under the Article of the Week heading on the homepage will consist of additional material or media. This week we feature a video discussing the paper.

If you only have time to read one article this week, it should be this one.

A prospective and randomised trial comparing fluoroscopic, total ultrasonographic, and combined guidance for renal access in mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy

Wei Zhu*, Jiasheng Li*, Jian Yuan*, Yongda Liu*, Shaw P.Wan*, Guanzhao Liu*† Wenzhong Chen*, Wenqi Wu*, Jintai Luo*, Dongliang Zhong*, Defeng Qi*, Ming
Lei*, Wen Zhong*, Ze Zhang*, Zhaohui He*, Zhijian Zhao*, Suilin Lu*, Yuji Wu*
and Guohua Zeng*


*Department of Urology, Minimally Invasive Surgery Center, The First Afliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University, and Guangdong Key Laboratory of Urology, Guangzhou, Guangdong, China




To compare the safety and efficacy of fluoroscopic guidance (FG), total ultrasonographic guidance (USG), and combined ultrasonographic and fluoroscopic guidance (CG) for percutaneous renal access in mini-percutaneous nephrolithotomy (mini-PCNL).

Patients and methods

The present study was conducted between July 2014 and May 2015 as a prospective randomised trial at the First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou Medical University. In all, 450 consecutive patients with renal stones of >2 cm were randomised to undergo FG, USG, or CG mini-PCNL (150 patients for each group). The primary endpoints were the stone-free rate (SFR) and blood loss (haemoglobin decrease during the operation and transfusion rate). Secondary endpoints included access failure rate, operating time, and complications. S.T.O.N.E. score was used to document the complexity of the renal stones. The study was registered at (NCT02266381).



The three groups had similar baseline characteristics. With S.T.O.N.E. scores of 5–6 or 9–13, the SFRs were comparable between the three groups. For S.T.O.N.E. scores of 7–8, FG and CG achieved significantly better SFRs than USG (one-session SFR 85.1% vs 88.5% vs 66.7%, P = 0.006; overall SFR at 3 months postoperatively 89.4% vs 90.2% vs 69.8%, P = 0.002). Multiple-tracts mini-PCNL was used more frequently in the FG and CG groups than in the USG group (20.7% vs 17.1% vs 9.5%, P = 0.028). The mean total radiation exposure time was significantly greater for FG than for CG (47.5 vs 17.9 s, P < 0.001). The USG had zero radiation exposure. There was no significant difference in the haemoglobin decrease, transfusion rate, access failure rate, operating time, nephrostomy drainage time, and hospital stay among the groups. The overall operative complication rates using the Clavien–Dindo grading system were similar between the groups.


Mini-PCNL under USG is as safe and effective as FG or CG in the treatment of simple kidney stones (S.T.O.N.E. scores 5–6) but with no radiation exposure. FG or CG is more effective for patients with S.T.O.N.E. scores of 7–8, where multiple percutaneous tracts may be necessary.

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