• laparoscopic ureterolithotomy;
  • open surgery;
  • ureteric stone

Objective:  To define the role of laparoscopic ureterolithotomy in the management of urolithiasis and evaluate the controversial techniques of this operation.

Methods:  Between July 1997 and December 2004, retroperitoneoscopic ureterolithotomy was performed as a primary procedure in 30 patients who had either large or impacted stones in the upper ureter. The other indications were stones which could not be fragmented by shock wave lithotripsy or the patients could not afford the cost of shock wave lithotripsy. The mean (range) age of the patients was 44.07 years (17–78) and the mean (range) stone size was 19.03 mm (10 – 40). The ureter was closed with intracorporeal laparoscopic suture without placing a stent.

Results:  The stone was removed in all but one case. The mean (range) operative time was 121.38 min (75–270). No intraoperative complications were recorded. The mean (range) postoperative drain removal was 2.86 days (2–10). Postoperative complications included prolonged urinary leakage in one patient. On the sixth month of follow up, all patients were stone free without any evidence of ureteral stricture.

Conclusion:  Laparoscopic ureterolithotomy is a minimally invasive treatment and may be considered as the useful first-line management for large impacted upper ureteric stones. The technical recommendations were retroperitoneal access and suturing the ureterotomy incision. Ureteral stent should be placed in only cases of severe inflammation of the ureter or inappropriate suturing.