Let's Get to the Point: Comparing Insertion Characteristics and Scope Damage of Flat-Tip and Ball-Tip Holmium Laser Fibers.
INTRODUCTION: A ball-tip holmium laser fiber (TracTip; Boston Scientific) has been developed to theoretically reduce damaging friction forces generated within a ureteroscope working channel. We compared the insertional forces and damage with a ureteroscope inner lining when inserting standard flat-tip and ball-tip laser fibers. MATERIALS AND METHODS: A standard ureteroscope channel liner was placed in a 3D-printed plastic mold. Molds were created at four angles of deflection (30°, 45°, 90°, and 180°) with a 1 cm radius of curvature. New 200 μm ball-tip (TracTip; Boston Scientific) and 200 μm flat-tip (Flexiva; Boston Scientific) laser fibers were advanced through the liner using a stage controller. A strain gauge was used to measure force required for insertion. Each fiber was passed 600 times at each angle of deflection. The ureteroscope liner was changed every 150 passes. Leak testing was performed every 50 passes or when the insertional force increased significantly to assess damage to the liner. RESULTS: At all deflection angles, the average insertional force was significantly lower with the ball-tip laser fibers compared with flat-tip laser fibers (p < 0.001). All trials with the ball-tip lasers were completed at each angle without any leaks. Two of four trials using flat-tip fibers at 45° deflection caused liner leaks (at 91 and 114 passes). At 90° deflection, all flat-tip trials caused liner leaks on first pass. The 180° trials could not physically be completed with the flat-tip laser fiber. Within the flat- and ball-tip groups, an increasing amount of force was needed to pass the fiber as the degree of deflection increased (p < 0.001). CONCLUSIONS: The ball-tip holmium laser fiber can be safely passed through a deflected ureteroscope without causing liner perforation. The standard flat-tip fiber requires greater insertion force at all angles and can cause the ureteroscope liner to leak if it is deflected 45° or more.
Carlos, EC; Li, J; Young, BJ; Radvak, D; Wollin, DA; Winship, BB; Simmons, WN; Preminger, GM; Lipkin, ME
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