Surgical planning and access are important factors for successful stone-free outcomes in patients undergoing percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL); however, PCNL has a high risk of haemorrhagic complications (reported transfusion rates of up to 12% [1]), which curtail surgery and result in suboptimum outcomes. Access to the pelvicalyceal system remains the major risk for bleeding, often associated with an off-set tract, splitting of the infundibulum/pelvis and/or angulated sheath, and requiring inordinate torque. The ideal tract dilatation method is still being debated, with differing reports on operating time and blood loss [2-5].

The present study evaluates a new method for percutaneous renal access, reporting a shorter operating time, a lower drop in haemoglobin levels and a shorter hospital stay, with no patient requiring transfusion. A patient selection bias might exist, which would explain the low complication rate. Also, the vaporization bubbles and the bleeding could result in difficult views, requiring a high level of expertise in plasma vaporization. The authors did not observe peri-nephric space fluid extravasation or dislodging of the single safety wire. Despite the promising outcome, the reproducibility of this technique remains to be seen, but this is a promising account of reducing bleeding and operating times and maintaining better visualization in PCNL.


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  2. References
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    Srivastava A, Singh KJ, Suri A et al. Vascular complications after percutaneous nephrolithotomy: are there any predictive factors? Urology 2005; 66: 3840
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    Safak M, Gögüş C, Soygür T. Nephrostomy tract dilation using a balloon dilator in percutaneous renal surgery: experience with 95 cases and comparison with the fascial dilator system. Urol Int 2003; 71: 382384
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    Osman M, Wendt-Nordahl G, Heger K, Michel MS, Alken P, Knoll T. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy with ultrasonography-guided renal access: experience from over 300 cases. BJU Int 2005; 96: 875878
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    Gönen M, Istanbulluoglu OM, Cicek T, Ozturk B, Ozkardes H. Balloon dilatation versus Amplatz dilatation for nephrostomy tract dilatation. J Endourol 2008; 22: 901904
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    Yamaguchi A, Skolarikos A, Buchholz NP et al. Clinical Research Office Of The Endourological Society Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy Study Group. Operating times and bleeding complications in percutaneous nephrolithotomy: a comparison of tract dilation methods in 5,537 patients in the Clinical Research Office of the Endourological Society Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy Global Study. J Endourol 2011; 25: 933939