Renal Distraction during Percutaneous Renal Calyceal Access for Prone & Supine PCNL Using a Ureteric Balloon Catheter (UBC). Results, Complications & Literature Review.

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Helen Rooney
Mohammed Alsawi
Tarik Amer
Leenesh Mokool
William Maynard
Rehan Khan
Sarath Nalagatla


Special access techniques during percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) are indicated for challenging stones. Various techniques have been described to inferiorly displace the kidney to facilitate optimal percutaneous access whilst minimizing thoracic complications associated with the supracostal approach.

We describe our institution’s technique of using a ureteric balloon catheter to inferiorly distract and immobilize the kidney (UBC Technique) to achieve the optimal calyceal access infracostally during PCNL. This permits effective and safe access in a single puncture whilst additionally stabilizing the renal unit during respiration and reducing the skin-to-calyceal distance by mobilizing the desired calyx in line with the axis of the puncture needle.  We reviewed the literature regarding alternative inferior renal displacement techniques permitting infracostal approaches. 

From May 2012 to October 2017 150 PCNLs were performed in our institution. Out of these, the UBC technique was used in 18 cases during both prone and supine PCNLs. In all cases, the UBC technique was used successfully to access the most desirable calyx. No complications associated with renal distraction were reported. Post operatively, 1 patient required a blood transfusion, 1 patient had a pyrexia of >38 degrees resulting in a longer admission and 1 patient developed sepsis requiring HDU admission for monitoring only. 15 out the 18 patients had complete stone clearance from their PCNL.

The UBC technique provides a safe alternative to the supracostal approach in percutaneous renal surgery. It is less traumatic than alternative infracostal access techniques and has a very short learning curve.




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Rooney, H., Alsawi, M., Amer, T., Mokool, L., Maynard, W., Khan, R., & Nalagatla, S. (2019). Renal Distraction during Percutaneous Renal Calyceal Access for Prone & Supine PCNL Using a Ureteric Balloon Catheter (UBC).: Results, Complications & Literature Review. Journal of Endoluminal Endourology, 2(3), e28-e33.
Original Article


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