Critical analysis of supracostal access for percutaneous renal surgery.
PURPOSE: Percutaneous renal surgery is currently performed for complex renal calculi as well as for various other endourological indications. In many patients an upper pole nephrostomy tract allows direct access to most of the intrarenal collecting system. Upper pole percutaneous access may be obtained via the supracostal or subcostal approach. The preferred route depends on the location and size of the specific stone or lesion. Previously others have cautioned against the supracostal approach above the 12th rib and many have discouraged an approach above the 11th rib due to concern about the increased risk of intrathoracic complications. We retrospectively assessed the morbidity associated with supracostal percutaneous renal surgery and compared and analyzed the morbidity of the supracostal and subcostal approaches. MATERIALS AND METHODS: The records of all patients who underwent upper pole percutaneous renal surgery between November 1993 and July 1999 were retrospectively reviewed. A total of 240 patients underwent percutaneous renal procedures, including 225 for managing symptomatic renal or ureteral stones, that is nonstaghorn calculi in 157, staghorn calculi in 41, proximal ureteral calculi in 12, calculi within a caliceal diverticulum in 6, calculi associated with primary ureteropelvic junction obstruction in 5 and calculi associated with a retained ureteral stent in 4. An additional 15 procedures were done for ureteropelvic junction obstruction (7), intrarenal collecting system tumors (5), a caliceal diverticulum without stones (1), a retained ureteral stent (1) and a ureteral stricture (1). RESULTS: A total of 300 nephrostomy tracts were placed to obtain access to the intrarenal collecting system via the supracostal approach in 98 (32.7%) cases and the subcostal approach in 202 (67.3%). Of the supracostal approaches 72 (73.5%) tracts were above the 12th and 26 (26.5%) were above the 11th rib. The overall complication rate irrespective of percutaneous approach was 8.3% (16.3% for supracostal and 4.5% for subcostal access). Complications included blood transfusion in 7 patients, intraoperative hemothorax/hydrothorax in 5, sepsis/bacteremia in 3, atrial fibrillation in 2, delayed nephropleural fistula in 2, renal artery pseudoaneurysm in 2, deep venous thrombosis/pulmonary embolus in 2, pneumothorax in 1 and subcapsular hematoma in 1. Seven of 8 intrathoracic complications (87.5%) developed in supracostal cases. CONCLUSIONS: Percutaneous renal surgery remains an important option for managing complex renal calculi and other upper urinary tract lesions. In our experience it is generally associated with low morbidity. The supracostal approach is often preferred for obtaining intrarenal access to complex renal and proximal ureteral pathology. Because supracostal access tracts are associated with significantly higher intrathoracic and overall complication rates compared to subcostal access tracts, this approach must be used with caution when no other alternatives are available.
Munver, R; Delvecchio, FC; Newman, GE; Preminger, GM
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