A Multi-institutional Review of Single-access Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy for Complex Staghorn Stones

Tim Large, Mark A. Assmus, Crystal Valadon, Anthony Emmott, Connor M. Forbes, Deepak Agarwal, Charles Nottingham, Kymora Scotland, Marcelino Rivera, Ben Chew, Amy Krambeck

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Background: With the heterogeneous distribution of novel surgical technologies and variable physician training, there is a need to re-evaluate contemporary outcomes of percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) for complex staghorn stones. Objective: To evaluate contemporary outcomes of guideline-supported treatment for patients with staghorn kidney stones using single-access PCNL in multiple North American centers. Design, setting and participants: We performed a multi-institutional retrospective review of staghorn stones managed from January 1, 2017 to January 1, 2019, inclusive. We excluded patients with more than a single percutaneous access per renal unit and those who underwent a concomitant contralateral procedure. Outcome measurements and statistical analysis: Safety (Clavien-Dindo complications) and efficacy in terms of a strictly defined stone-free rate were examined for single-access PCNL performed on staghorn stones with a Guy's stone score of 3–4. Results and limitations: We evaluated 301 patients meeting the inclusion criteria with an average age of 57 yr (range 18–87). All stones had a Guy's stone score of 3 (36.2%) or 4 (63.8%). The mean (± standard deviation) stone burden was 191.4 ± 49.8 mm2. Of the 297 patients (98.6%) who underwent computed tomography on postoperative day 1, 132 (44.4%) showed no residual stone, 111 (37.3%) had a largest fragment <4 mm, and 54 (18.2%) had a fragment ≥4 mm after primary single-access PCNL. Secondary procedures were performed in 117 patients (38.9%). Imaging at 3 mo demonstrated that 210/257 patients (82%) were stone-free. The overall complication rate was 17.9%, with 11 patients (3.7%) experiencing Clavien-Dindo grade ≥3 complications. Conclusions: Single-access PCNL for complex staghorn stones is safe and effective. High stone-free rates with minimal morbidity are achievable with current techniques. Patient summary: This study confirms that single-access percutaneous nephrolithotomy provides excellent outcomes in the treatment of complex kidney stones. This surgical technique has both safe and effective outcomes that are reproducible across multiple centers in North America.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1170-1175
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Urology Focus
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2021


  • Adult
  • Outcomes
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy
  • Stone


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