Articles tagged with: Kidney Surgeon


Percutaneous Stone Surgery in the Supine Position

Percutaneous Stone Surgery in the Supine Position

This week’s Guest Post is by Denby Steele, an Adelaide Urologist, an expert in the management of complex kidney stone disease and pioneer of supine PCNL in Australia

"Marberger, Clayman and Whickam, in different parts of the world, were instrumental with the development of percutaneous stone surgery in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, and for many years this has been performed in the prone position. Extracorporeal shock lithotripsy in the early 1990’s and flexible ureteroscopic laser lithotripsy in the later 1990’s have provided less invasive alternatives for upper tract stone surgery but percutaneous surgery still offers an excellent minimally invasive option, particularly for larger stones.

"Traditionally, percutaneous stone surgery has been performed in the prone position but since the first description of this in the supine position by Valdivia et al in the Journal of Urology in 1998, there have been pockets of interest and increasing expertise in surgery in this position.

"My series of 322 cases published in the Journal of Endourology in 2007 is still the second largest published series, but there are increasing reports from around the world and numerous reviewers and commentators have highlighted the advantages of surgery in this position. Randomised trials have proven the safety, efficacy and time saving.

The supine position for Percutaneous Stone Surgery (PCNL) by urologist Denby Steel

"The supine position was presumably neglected because of fear of colonic injury, but it has been shown radiologically that the colon floats further away from the kidney in the supine position, exposing a greater area for safe percutaneous puncture. With the patient tilted over a 3 litre bag under the flank it is possible to puncture even more posteriorly than some prior prone punctures. There have been no reports of colonic perforation in the supine position in the literature.

"There has been debate about which position is best, but this will depend on the sex of the patient, body habitus, whether concomitant rigid lower tract instrumentation is required, stone burden and position of the colon relative to the kidney. I recommend a 3 litre (1 litre in small patients) saline bag under the ipsilateral flank, a pillow under the ipsilateral leg for males, and lithotomy position for females or males requiring a rigid cystoscopy or ureteroscopy. The ipsilateral arm is always brought across the chest. The flank and perineum are prepared and draped together for a single stage procedure starting with flexible cystoscopy and ureteric catheterisation over a glide wire. The image intensifier is angled back 5 – 10 degrees to allow for the patient tilt. Kidney puncture, tract dilatation and stone surgery are then performed in the standard fashion. I tend to leave a ureteric stent afterwards and drain the bladder but do not leave a nephrostomy tube.

"The supine position is very attractive to nursing staff, anaesthetists and surgeons, and offers the following advantages:

  • Reduced manual handling with no position change
  • No dangerous prone position
  • No patient shoulder strain
  • Single set up and draping
  • Easy concomitant rigid cystoscopy and ureteroscopy
  • Comfortable surgery in the sitting position
  • Reduced radiation to the surgeon as hands not under the image intensifier
  • Increased safety as it is easy to pass a wire through the puncture and out the urethra
  • Stone fragments will spontaneously exit the obliquely placed sheath
  • Reduced operating theatre time
Urologist Denby Steel performing Percutaneous Stone Surgery (PCNL) using the supine position.

"I have performed percutaneous surgery in the supine position in all 680 cases since 1999 and regularly lecture and run workshops in Australia and overseas to promote and teach this simple and improved technique."

Denby Steele is a Urologist in private practice in North Adelaide South Australia, a Senior Visiting Urologist at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, the inaugural Chairman of the Endourology Special Advisory Group of the Urological Society of Australian and New Zealand, the immediate past Chairman of the SA & NT branch of the Urological Society of Australian and New Zealand and an examiner in Urology for the Royal Australian College of Surgeons.

Categories: Other


Kidney stones - prevention and treatment

Kidney stones - prevention and treatment

Matthew Bultitude is a consultant urological surgeon practising at Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital in London. He has a subspecialist interest in stone disease, and in this article he answers questions about the common problem of kidney stones.

Matt, how did you become interested in urological stone disease?

I was fortunate to work as a junior doctor in the stone unit at Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital and following on from that I was offered a research position which I gladly took up. I undertook a number of clinical projects during that period including an MSc thesis assessing the safety of flexible ureteroscopy. I really enjoyed the challenges that stone disease creates and this has carried on throughout my career.

Do you see an increasing rate of stone disease in the UK, and what is the cause of this?

There is no doubt that there has been a steady increase in the number of stone cases in the western world and the UK is no exception. The lifetime risk may now be as high as 12% (American data) and although more common in men, they are becoming increasingly prevalent in women. This is essentially due to a combination of increasing obesity with poor diets (high in animal protein, fizzy drinks, processed foods, salt etc) and low fluid intake.

What have been the major developments in surgery for stone disease in the last few years?

I remember (as a boy with a urological father) when the first public lithotripter arrived in the UK (St. Thomas' Hospital) in the 1980's. This revolutionised stone treatment and continues to be a common treatment. What has changed over the last decade has been the development of smaller (diameter) and more robust instruments allowing us to pass telescopes up the urinary tract to the kidney to treat stones (flexible ureteroscopy). For large stones percutaneous surgery (PCNL) remains the standard and recent developments have seen some interesting changes to how this is done with smaller and smaller instruments and also in new surgical positions with many surgeons now choosing the supine position (so lying on side) rather than prone (lying on front).

Does shock wave therapy have an ongoing role in stone management?

There is no doubt that shock wave lithotripsy has been on the decline but in my opinion it is still a useful treatment for many patients. Choosing the correct stone for this treatment is important and as it works better in a thin patient with a smaller stone, rather than trying it in everyone. However I increasingly find patients prefer the more definitive choice of surgery with ureteroscopy to fragment the stone with a laser as although it is more invasive, the outcomes are more predictable.

Calcium oxalate stones are the most common kind of kidney stones. What is your advice to someone who has had a stone like this, to prevent future stone formation?

I often give quite detailed advice about stone prevention, although the summary of this is a normal healthy diet with lots of fluid (which is what we should all be doing!). In principal we should aim for a diet with:

- Enough fluid to produce at least 2 litres of urine per day. The actual amount will be different for everyone but usually a minimum of 2.5 litres in per day is required. This is the most important advice.

- Limited animal protein (meat and fish)

- Low salt

- Plenty of fruit and vegetables

- High fibre

- A normal calcium intake - so cutting back is often the wrong thing to do.

For calcium oxalate stone formers there are some foods high in oxalate and limiting intake of these may also help.

What developments do you see on the horizon for kidney stone treatment?

I think surgery will continue to improve with better quality and smaller instruments becoming available. Shockwave lithotripsy will probably continue to decline (as discussed above). What would be a game changer is the development of effective medication that could reduce the chance of stones growing in urine although I suspect we are many years away from this!

You can read more about Matt Bultitude by following these links to the Guy's and St. Thomas' Hospital website and the London Bridge Hospital website.

Click here for a link to his personal website.

You can also follow Matt Bultitude on twitter

Categories: Kidney Stones


Management of Localised Kidney Cancer

Management of Localised Kidney Cancer

Alexander Kutikov, MD is a Surgical Oncologist and Associate Professor of Urologic Oncology at the Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia. He is a highly published author and experienced presenter on the topic of Urological Cancer, and is very active in Social Media in Urology. In this Guest Post, Alex gives a concise account of the diagnosis and treatment options for localised kidney cancer. He explains what you need to know, and what you should ask your surgeon.

You can read more about Alex by clicking this link : Alexander Kutikov MD, and you can follow him on twitter @uretericbud.

Details of the Fox Chase Cancer Center can be found here : Fox Chase Cancer Center.

The Kidneys

"If you or your loved one has been diagnosed with a kidney tumor / mass, reliable information regarding this condition is often difficult to obtain. It is important that you have a good understanding of the diagnostic and treatment options available in order to make an educated choice on how to best proceed with your treatment.

"Generally, when patients are diagnosed with a kidney mass, it is apparent on imaging studies whether the tumor is localized to the kidney or if it has spread beyond the kidney to other parts of the body. For patients with localized disease, surgical resection remains the gold standard, and is largely superior to therapies such as cryotherapy or radiofrequency ablation.

"The following points are important to remember:

1. Understand that not All Kidney Tumors are Malignant.

2. Understand Goals of Treatment:

Surgical Oncologists
  • Primary treatment goal: Oncologic cure - cancer control must never be compromised and surgical resection is the gold standard treatment for patients with kidney tumors. Yet, for some patients "active surveillance" is often an ideal initial option of choice (Small renal masses progressing to metastases under active surveillance: a systematic review and pooled analysis).

  • Secondary treatment goal: Kidney preservation - years of experience with kidney (aka: nephron) preserving surgery (partial nephrectomy) demonstrates that this approach is oncologically safe and is associated with long-term benefits to overall health. A standardized system to classify features of kidney tumors as they relate to ability to safely perform partial nephrectomy was developed at Fox Chase Cancer Center in 2009 (The R.E.N.A.L. nephrometry score: a comprehensive standardized system for quantitating renal tumor size, location and depth.) and is currently used by kidney surgeons all over the globe.

  • Tertiary treatment goal: Utilization of minimally invasive surgical approaches - . Both transperitoneal and retroperitoneal minimally-invasive (laparoscopic / robotic) surgical approaches are currently utilized by expert kidney surgeons. Finding the right surgeon may help avoid a large painful incision, albeit traditional open kidney surgery continues to play an important role in management of some patients with large / anatomically complex kidney tumors.

3. Be Prepared During Your Visit.

Here are some questions to pose to your treating physician when you or your family member is diagnosed with a renal mass:

  • Understand characteristics of your mass: size of tumor, clinical stage of tumor, RENAL nephrometry score. If your tumor has been resected, be sure to obtain information regarding pathologic stage, grade and histology. Pathology review by expert pathologists at times can make a critical difference in guiding further treatments.
  • Why or why not do a biopsy?
  • Treatment Options:
    • Active Surveillance - am I a candidate?
    • Medical Therapy (generally reserved for tumors that have spread)
    • Renal mass ablation (generally reserved for frail patients whose surgical risks are prohibitive).
    • Surgery
      • partial nephrectomy: is your surgeon familiar and experienced with kidney preservation techniques? Is he/she comfortable performing partial nephrectomy minimally-invasively, thus accelerating your recovery and minimizing pain?
      • radical nephrectomy: if radical nephrectomy is offered, be sure to establish that partial nephrectomy is not possible at a more experienced center. If kidney preservation is not possible, can radical nephrectomy be performed with minimally-invasive techniques?
  • Risks of treatment: be sure to understand risks associated with each option.

"In summary, kidney cancer is curable in the majority of cases and its treatment is rapidly evolving. Finding an expert urologic surgeon who not only understands this complex disease, but also possesses the needed surgical skills to appropriately manage this condition is critical to successful outcomes."

This post was adapted by Alex Kutikov from an original Fox Chase Cancer Center Cancer Conversations blog post which appears at: Understanding Your Kidney Cancer Treatment Options

Categories: Updates


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