Vestnik Urologii

Advanced search

Integrated retrograde and antegrade contact electro-impulse lithotripsy in the treatment of kidneys and ureteropelvic junction stones


Introduction. Nowadays, the tactics of removing stones from the kidneys and the ureteropelvic junction are widely covered and described in detail in modern guidelines. Determination of one or another treatment way depends on stone specific features and patient`s constitutional peculiarities. However, usage of percutaneous or retrograde access only does not always allow achieving a good result. In sophisticated cases, such as a large-size branchy renal stone, a “penetrated” stone in the ureter’s upper third, or some patient`s anatomic peculiarities, search for new ways to remove such stones with integrating accesses.

Purpose of the study. To evaluate the removal efficiency of kidney stones and ureteropelvic junction by a combination of retrograde and percutaneous lithotripsy using electrical impulse energy. Materials and methods. In 2014-2019 in Siberian State Medical University Clinics (Tomsk, Russia), the integrated retrograde and percutaneous lithotripsy was applied in 26 cases to patients that had differently positioned kidneys’ and ureteropelvic junction stones. The treatment was based on the usage of the electro-impulse lithotriptor Urolith-105M (Lithotech Medical, Israel, MedLine LLP, Russia). In some cases, the laser lithotriptor Calculase II (Karl Storz, Germany) was also engaged. Result. The patients were aged from 25 to 76 (women - 69.2%). The calculus average size was 19.5 mm (varying from 5 to 51 mm). The calculus average density was 1229 HU (from 510 to 1720 HU). The operation average duration was 131 minutes (from 40 to 280 minutes). The incidence of complications was 3.84%. The complete calculus destruction occurred in 92.3% of cases. The overall response rate in re-operations reached up 100%.

Conclusion. Integration of antegrade and retrograde accesses with use of the electro-impulse energy in removing complex stones from ureteropelvic junctions and kidneys proved to be an efficient method of treatment and demonstrated great results. Furthermore, this option of the single-step access to the stones is the only one possible in some cases when the extracorporeal lithotripsy is contraindicated, application of upfront surgery is quite risky, or endoscopic methods as an antegrade/retrograde mono-access are not effective .

For citation:

Gudkov A.V., Boshchenko V.S., Lozovskiy M.S., Shikunova Y.V. Integrated retrograde and antegrade contact electro-impulse lithotripsy in the treatment of kidneys and ureteropelvic junction stones. Vestnik Urologii. 2021;9(1):39-46. (In Russ.)


The tactics of removing kidney and ureteropelvic junction stones are currently quite widely and particularly described in modern guidelines. Determination of one or another treatment way depends on the kidney stone features and localization, the patient`s constitutional peculiarities, and concomitant diseases ― remote kidney stone crushing, laparoscopic operations, retrograde or percutaneous lithotripsy. Endoscopic instruments have been significantly improved over the past 15 years. Therefore, it became possible to remove complex kidney stones of the kidney and the upper third of the ureter effectively. However, it is not possible to achieve a good result through a monomethod in all the cases. Special difficulties arise when it is impossible to visualize the stone retrogradely, to bring the lithotriptor probe due to mucosal edema, anatomical features, with “penetrated” stones, and concretion migration during crushing. The percutaneous method is often problematic to be used for kidney stones of elongated narrow necks of the calyx, postoperative scarring of the kidneys, and skeletal deformities. In this regard, it is necessary to look for new ways that may allow removing “problem” kidney stones through integrating accesses.

Fernstrom and Johansson were the first who performed percutaneous nephrolithotripsy in 1976 [1]. Therefore, serious drastic changes in approaches to the surgical treatment of kidney stones have taken place since the introduction of this method. Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy was performed in the prone position until 1987; Valdivia described the original technique performed in 585 patients in the supine position [2]. Carrying out the surgery in the prone and supine position is comparable for the reasons of safety. At the same time, the supine position has some advantages: direct access to the respiratory tract with endotracheal anesthesia and the possibility of simultaneous retrograde access. Also, there is no need to make the patient change the supine position (after installing a renal catheter) to the prone one. The options for accessing the upper calyx are optimal and safer if the patient remains in the prone position, and the implementation of multiple accesses is more profitable in this case [3][4][5][6].

In most cases, treatment of kidney and ureteropelvic junction stones is carried out by retrograde or percutaneous access and using rigid instruments. In many cases, access to some areas of the pelvicalyceal system is only possible with the help of flexible tools. It is especially necessary for coralloid forms of nephrolithiasis ― fragmentation, spur extractions, kidney stones, and fragments of the upper third of the ureter, also in patients with kidney abnormalities and complex bony frame deformities [7][8].

Therefore, pneumatic, electrohydraulic, ultrasonic, and laser energies are widely used to influence the fragmentation of kidney stones [9][10][11][12][13]. Pneumatic and ultrasonic lithotriptors are the safest for the surrounding tissues. When the stone is crushed, the fragments are evacuated simultaneously ― that is the advantage of the ultrasonic lithotripter. At the same time, when the pneumatic lithotripter is crushed by the probe, fragments are formed; they are to be removed later, which also takes extra time spent for the surgery. The advantage of electrohydraulic and laser lithotriptors is their use with a flexible tool and the possibility of harder kidney stone fragmentation. Anyway, the significant damaging effect of the electrohydraulic method did not allow it to be widely implemented in practice.

The electro-pulse type of kidney stone fragmentation by retrograde access is described quite fully in the works of Gudkov, but the use of this lithotripsy type by the percutaneous method (particularly in combination with retrograde lithotripsy) has not been previously covered in the scientific literature [14].

The results of percutaneous and retrograde crushing of stones in kidneys and the upper third of the ureter have been quite actively discussed in recent years. Bozkurt et al. described eighty-six patients who underwent percutaneous nephrolitholapaxy (forty-five patients) and retrograde stone crushing (forty-one patients) of the upper third of the ureter in a 2015 study. The result was complete removal of the kidney stone in the first group ― 97.6%, and 82.3% of all the cases in the second one. In the second group, the kidney stone could not be visualized in three patients retrogradely due to edema, and in several patients, the kidney stone migrated to the kidney. Therefore, the hospital stay in the percutaneous nephrolitholapaxy group was longer than in the retrograde access group. Studies have confirmed that percutaneous nephrolithotripsy is a safe and effective procedure, as well as retrograde surgery, which is indicated for patients with kidney stones in the upper third of the ureter [15][16][17][18].

An effective method for treating stones in the ureteropelvic junction and the upper third of the ureter is a simultaneous combination of percutaneous and retrograde approaches in the Valdivia position. In his work, Chen performed simultaneous percutaneous nephrolithotripsy and retrograde contact lithotripsy for thirty-one patients. At the same time, the effectiveness of kidney stone removal after three months was 100%, the average age of patients was 57 years, the kidney stone size was 20.1 mm (15.0 – 37.9 mm range), the surgery time was 81 minutes (30 – 150 minutes range), and the postoperative hospital stay was 3.2 days [19]. Similar work was carried out by Huang in thirteen patients with kidney stones of the upper third of the ureter (about 15 mm size), which confirms the effectiveness of a combination of these approaches [18]. The integration of accesses is a promising scientific area and a very topical issue that is being actively discussed at the moment. The study aimed to evaluate the effectiveness and safety of removing kidney and ureteropelvic junction stones by a simultaneous combination of approaches ― retrograde and percutaneous lithotripsy through using electric pulse energy.

Materials and methods

26 patients underwent combined percutaneous and retrograde contact electric impulse lithotripsy during the period from 2014 to 2019 (Table 1).

Table 1. Summary patients’ demographics describing the study group

Patients’ demographics

Number (n = 26)

Sex (male/female)

n = 8 / 18

Average age, year

53 ± 16.9 (25 ‒ 76)

Kidney stone size, length in mm

19.5 ± 13.1 (5 ‒ 51)

Stone density, HU

1229 ± 245.36 (510 ‒ 1720)

Inclusion criteria. This method of treatment was chosen in cases where, due to anatomical features, it was not possible to remove the concretion percutaneously or retrogradely through a monomethod. This combination was used mainly in patients with kidney stones of the ureteropelvic junction, penetrated kidney stones of the upper third of the ureter, kidney stones of the upper calyx with narrow elongated necks and an acute angle of access. Such an angle does not allow the percutaneous fragmentation of kidney stones (Fig. 1). Such combinative method is also used in patients with previously performed open interventions of the urinary tract, in patients having a scar deformity that led to changes in normal anatomy, and in patients with severe bone frame deformity that complicates the retrograde access to the kidney stone.

Figure 1.
Integrated retrograde and percutaneous nephrolitholapaxy. Fragments of the kidney stone that occurred in the upper calyx neck are caught by the loop and brought to the kidney pelvis down to the Amplatz tube

Exclusion criteria. Patients under the 18 age. Patients with an exacerbation of urinary tract infection, pregnant women, patients who suffer from the abnormal location of visceral organs (retrorenal colon), a malignant kidney tumor, a bleeding tendency.

In total, 26 patients (8 men, 18 women) with kidney stones underwent combined percutaneous and retrograde contact electro-pulse lithotripsy. This group included ten patients with single kidney stones of the ureteropelvic junction, seven with multiple kidney stones (these are combined kidney stones of the ureteropelvic junction and calyxes), four staghorn stones (including K4), 2 stones of the neck of the upper calyx, and 3 pelvis kidney stones that could not be fragmented retrogradely due to their high density (Table 2).

Table 2. Concrement size variation

Stone location

Size > 20 mm

n (%)

Size 10 ‒ 20 mm

n (%)

Size < 10 mm

n (%)

Pelvis kidney stone

(n = 3)

3 (11.5%)

Calyx kidney stone

(n = 2)

1 (3.8%)

1 (3.8%)

UPJ kidney stone

(n = 10)

1 (3.8%)

7 (27%)

2 (7.7%)

Staghorn kidney stone

(n = 4)

3 (11.5%)

1 (3.8%)

Multiple kidney stones

(n = 7)

4 (15.4%)

1 (3.8%)

2 (7.7%)

Note: UPJ ― Ureteropelvic junction

Percutaneous lithotomy provided access mainly through the lower calyx (twenty-two cases), in three cases the access was achieved through the middle calyx, in one patient ― through the upper one.

Pre-surgery preparation. All the patients underwent pre-surgery urinalysis, urine culture, general and biochemical blood tests, kidney ultrasound, excretory urography, and computed tomography of the kidneys (to determine the kidney stone density). The size of the kidney stone was determined by measuring the length and width during the X-ray examination. The patients also underwent antibiotic prophylaxis before surgery. The used type of anesthesia was epidural.

Surgical method. X-ray operating room. The patient lying in the Galdakao-Valdivia position underwent puncture of the renal cavity system, the formation of percutaneous access to the stone, and fistula augmentation in the presence of a nephrostomy tube. Then, in the case of ureteropelvic junction kidney stones, the stage of retrograde kidney stone crushing was performed with adequate drainage of the renal cavity system, its fragments were erected to the Amplatz tube with a rigid ureteroscope of 8 ‒ 9.5 Ch. Therefore, in the case of upper calyx kidney stones, the kidney stones and spurs of the staghorn kidney stone were brought down. The fragmentation of the kidney stone fragments, and their evacuation were performed antegradely with the help of a nephroscope 24 Ch. through the formed access. If it was impossible to destroy the kidney stone retrogradely (anatomical features, difficulties in visualization, inefficiency of the lithotriptor), the nephroscope was used in an antegrade way, then lithotripsy and fragment removal were performed. In the case when the rigid instrument was ineffective, a flexible cystoscope was used antegradely. The surgery was conducted by one urologist and in a pair, simultaneously percutaneous and retrograde access to the stone was performed.

The kidney stones were disintegrated with an electro-pulse lithotripter, and in a few cases, a holmium laser was used for high-density kidney stones (perforant holes were applied to the surface of the kidney stone, then electro-pulse energy was applied again). Loops and baskets were rarely used, mainly when bringing fragments down from the upper calyx to the Amplatz tube. The surgery was completed by installing a nephrostomy tube.

The degree of kidney release from the concretion was evaluated at the end of treatment. The absence of kidney stone fragments larger than 3 mm indicated a positive result. The duration of the surgery, the time spent in the hospital, and the presence of complications were also evaluated. The surgery time was calculated from the moment of the kidney puncture until the end of the surgery (installation of the nephrostomy). The urethral catheters were removed the next day, the nephrostomy tube was removed on the 2nd ‒ 3rd days. In the case of complications, the time of nephrostomy drainage removal was evaluated individually. The patient was discharged in the absence of fever, anemia, and pain signs. All the patients remained under the supervision of the polyclinic urologist after their treatment.

The obtained results were processed through standard methods of biological and medical statistics, by using the program STATISTICA, version 8.0 (StatSoft Inc., USA). The obtained data were presented in the form of average values and their standard deviations ― M ± d. Dichotomous and ordinal qualitative data were expressed as frequencies (n) and incidences (%).


The percutaneous access played the main role during the combined removal of kidney stones due to the possibility of disintegration and evacuation of fragments of a larger size than the retrograde one. The retrograde access was auxiliary, it was used for kidney stone fragmentation and bringing it down. It was also necessary for erecting kidney stone fragments to the Amplatz tube in the case of non-possibility to achieve the result by antegrade access (Table 3).

Table 3. Summary outcome of surgery treatment

Surgery duration, min

131 ± 55.8

(40 ‒ 280)

Post-surgery hospital stay, days

6.3 ± 1.77

(3 ‒ 17)

Post-surgery kidney stone-free status, n (%)

26 (100%)


bleeding requiring transfusion or conversion, n (%)

0 (0%)

post-surgery fever > 38.0, n (%)

1 (3.84%)

kidney stone’s migration, n (%)

2 (7.7%)

re-intervention demand, n (%)

2 (7.7%)

Intraoperative and postoperative results are presented in Table 3. The average duration of surgical interventions was 131 minutes (40 ‒ 280 minutes range). The concretions of twenty-four patients were completely removed during one intervention, in two patients with multiple kidney stones, the surgery was performed in two stages or more. The effectiveness of this method was 92.3%, with repeated interventions, the result was achieved in 100% of cases.

23 interventions were performed without any complications, and one patient developed acute pyelonephritis in the postoperative period, which was stopped with antibiotic therapy. The migration of fragments during crushing was observed in two patients during the surgery. No significant bleeding was observed during the surgery and post-surgery treatment, no blood transfusion was required, no damage to adjacent organs was noted.


This study demonstrated that the combination of accesses to kidney and ureteropelvic junction stones is justified for kidney stones of various sizes, their prolonged standing or penetrating. The effectiveness of this technique does not depend on the kidney stone size. The risks associated with antegrade access are justified as well. This type of surgery intervention is very effective for multiple kidney stones, regardless of the location in the kidney.

The simultaneous use of percutaneous and retrograde methods has the advantage of achieving excellent results during one surgical intervention.

This approach to the treatment of kidney and ureteropelvic junction kidney stones allows creating an open system to safely crush the stone, without fear of reflux when the pressure of the irrigation fluid in the cavity system increases. The ureteropelvic junction kidney stone can be moved back into the renal pelvis, and the kidney stone or fragments of the upper calyx, on the contrary, can be brought down and removed through the Amplatz tube during one procedure. Also, one can always examine the ureter for the presence of residual kidney stone fragments or blood clots at the end of the surgery while removing the ureteroscope.

The combination of antegrade and retrograde approaches with using electro-pulse energy for ureteropelvic junction kidney stones and complex kidney stones is an effective treatment method. The simultaneous combined access to the kidney stone in some cases is the only possible one, when remote lithotripsy is contraindicated. It should be also used when the risk of open surgery is quite high and endoscopic methods in the form of monodetection are antegradely or retrogradely not effective.


  1. The combination of antegrade and retrograde contact electro-pulse lithotripsy for kidney and ureteropelvic junction stones allows the simultaneous use of both methods, providing access to kidney stones of various sizes and localization, while maintaining the minimally invasive surgery.
  2. The combination of retrograde and antegrade contact electro-pulse lithotripsy for kidney and ureteropelvic junction stones demonstrated 100% effectiveness. The complications developed only in 3.84% of patients in the study group, which allows the authors to consider this combined method as a safe one.
  3. The combination of retrograde and antegrade contact electro-pulse lithotripsy is considered to be the only possible way to remove stones in some clinical cases.
  4. The use of flexible endoscopes and a combination of energies increases the possibility of complete release from the kidney stone pro one surgery intervention by using a combined technique.
  5. The main role in the combined kidney stones removal is percutaneous access due to the possibility of disintegration and evacuation of larger fragments.
  6. Retrograde access is an auxiliary one used if it is not possible to achieve the result by the antegrade access due to the anatomical features of the kidney pelvicalyceal system and the “inconvenient” kidney stone localization.


1. Mazurenko D.A., Bernikov E.V., Kadyrov Z.A., Zhivov A.V., Abdullin I.I., Nersesyan L.A. Pcnl in treatment of large and staghorn kidney stones. Urology Herald. 2015;(2):21-33. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 25404028

2. Daels F, Gonzalez MS, Freire FG, Jurado A, Damia O. Percutaneous lithotripsy in Valdivia-Galdakao decubitus position: our experience. J Endourol. 2009;23(10):1615-1620. DOI: 10.1089/end.2009.1526

3. Rudenko V.I., Dutov V.V. eds; Shiranov K.A. translator. Klinicheskie rekomendatsii po mochekamennoi bolezni. In: Klinicheskie rekomendatsii Evropeiskoi assotsiatsii urologov, 2019. (In Russ.). Accessed Dec 09, 2020.

4. Rogachikov V.V., Nesterov S.N., Il'chenko D.N., Tevlin K.P., Kudryashov A.V. Percutaneous nephrolitholapaxy: past, present, future... Eksperimental'naya I klinicheskaya urologiya. 2016;(2):58-66. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 29899542

5. Martov A.G., Andronov A.S., Ergakov D.V., Duto S.V. Chreskozhnaya nefrolitotripsiya na spine. Saratovskij nauchno-medicinskij zhurnal. 2011;(S2):s52-s56. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 17107161

6. Mak DK, Smith Y, Buchholz N, El-Husseiny T. What is better in percutaneous nephrolithotomy - Prone or supine? A systematic review. Arab J Urol. 20164;14(2):101-107. DOI: 10.1016/j.aju.2016.01.005

7. Dzhafarzade M.F., Martov A.G., Teodorovich O.V. Surgical treatment of nephroliths of the fused kidney. Urologiia. 2011;(4):82-84. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 16861655

8. Trusov P.V., Kogan M.I., Khvan V.K. The efficacy and safety of mini-percutaneous nephrolithotripsy in the treatment of large and staghorn stones of the kidney. Urology Herald. 2017;5(1):32-36. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.21886/2306-6424-2017-5-1-32-36

9. Alyaev Yu.G., Martov A.G., Vinarov A.Z., Grigoriev N.A., Gazimiev M.A., Ergakov D.V., Sorokin N.I. Pilot experience with application of a novel pneumatic lithotripter LMA STONRBREAKERtm in the treatment of urolithiasis. Urologiia. 2009;(6):48-52. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 13216437

10. Teodorovich O.V., Naryshkin S.A., Borisenko G.G., Davlatbiev S.A., DalgatovSh.U., Shatokhin M.N., Kudil A.V., Kochiev D.G. Minimally invasive percutaneous laser nephrolithotripsy in staghorn calculi treatment. Bashkortostan medical journal. 2015;10(3):68-72. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 24245594

11. Trusov P.V., Gusev A.A. Treatment of kidney stones: standards and innovations. Urology Herald. 2019;7(2):93-111. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.21886/2308-6424-2019-7-2-93-111

12. Yanenko E.K., Konstantinova O.V., Akulin S.M. Korallovidnyi nefrolitiaz: metody operativnogo lecheniya, oslozhneniya i ikh profilaktika. Urologiia. 2009;(6):62-67. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 13216441

13. Cinman NM, Andonian S, Smith AD. Lasers in percutaneous renal procedures. World J Urol. 2010;28(2):135-142. DOI:10.1007/s00345-009-0423-z

14. Gudkov A.V., Boschenko V.S., Afonin V.Ya. Contact electroimpulse lithotripsy. Urologiia. 2009;(2):32-37. (In Russ.). eLIBRARY ID: 12869856

15. Bhat A, Singh V, Bhat M, Khandelwal N, Bhat A. Comparison of antegrade percutaneous versus retrograde ureteroscopic lithotripsy for upper ureteric calculus for stone clearance, morbidity, and complications. Indian J Urol. 2019;35(1):48-53. DOI: 10.4103/iju.IJU_89_18

16. Eldarawany HM. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, percutaneous nephrolithotripsy, retrograde intrarenal surgery and ureteroscopic lithotripsy in the treatment of renal and proximal ureteric stones: Are they competitive or complimentary? Saudi J Med Med Sci. 2015;3(3):190-197. DOI: 10.4103/1658-631X.161993

17. Bozkurt IH, Yonguc T, Arslan B, Degirmenci T, Gunlusoy B, Aydogdu O, Koras O. Minimally invasive surgical treatment for large impacted upper ureteral stones: Ureteroscopic lithotripsy or percutaneous nephrolithotomy? Can Urol Assoc J. 2015;9(3-4):E122-125. DOI: 10.5489/cuaj.2280

18. Huang TY, Feng KM, Lo IS. Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: Update, Trends, and Future Directions for Simultaneous Supine Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy and Retrograde Uretero-lithotripsy in the Galdakao-modified Supine Valdivia Position for Large Proximal Ureteral Calculi. Eur Urol. 2017;71(5):837-838. DOI: 10.1016/j.eururo.2016.10.019

19. Chen YC, Chen HW, Juan YS, Lo IS, Shih MP, Wu WJ, Jhan JH, Huang TY. Management of Large Proximal Ureteral Calculi: A Three-year Multicenter Experience of Simultaneous Supine Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy and Retrograde Ure-terolithotripsy. Urol J. 2019;16(5):433-438. DOI: 10.22037/uj.v0i0.4328

About the Authors

A. V. Gudkov
Siberian State Medical University
Russian Federation

Alexander V. Gudkov — M.D., Dr.Sc.(M), Full Prof.; Head, Dept. of General Urology and Pediatric Urology-andrology.

634050, Tomsk, 2 Moscovskii tract

Competing Interests:

no conflict of interest

V. S. Boshchenko
Siberian State Medical University
Russian Federation

Vyacheslav S. Boshchenko — M.D., Dr.Sc.(M), Assoc. Prof. (Docent); Prof. Dept. of General Urology and Pediatric Urology-andrology.

634050, Tomsk, 2 Moscovskii tract

Competing Interests:

no conflict of interest

M. S. Lozovskiy
Siberian State Medical University
Russian Federation

Maxim S. Lozovskiy — M.D.; Head, Urology Division.

634050, Tomsk, 2 Moscovskii tract; tel.: +7 (923) 407-77-77

Competing Interests:

no conflict of interest

Ya. V. Shikunova
Siberian State Medical University
Russian Federation

Yana V. Shikunova — M.D., Cand.Sc.(M), Assoc.Prof. (Docent) Dept. of General Urology and Pediatric Urology-andrology.

634050, Tomsk, 2 Moscovskiitract

Competing Interests:

no conflict of interest

For citation:

Gudkov A.V., Boshchenko V.S., Lozovskiy M.S., Shikunova Y.V. Integrated retrograde and antegrade contact electro-impulse lithotripsy in the treatment of kidneys and ureteropelvic junction stones. Vestnik Urologii. 2021;9(1):39-46. (In Russ.)

Views: 82

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

ISSN 2308-6424 (Online)