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Indexed/Abstracted in: EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 0,536
Online ISSN 1827-1758
Ben H. CHEW, Dirk LANGE
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
Open ureterolithotomy and pyelolithotomy used to be first line therapy for treating kidney and ureteral stones. With the advent of shockwave lithotripsy, open stone surgery became less prevalent, but once ureteroscopy became more prevalent, open stone surgery became all but extinct. Advances in smaller, more flexible endoscopes and improvements in intracorporeal lithotripters, ureteroscopy has become a mainstay of therapy for kidney stones. The holmium:YAG laser can be utilized through flexible instruments and fragments any stone no matter what it is composed of. Digital image ureteroscopes with chip-on-the-tip technology has improved our visualization during ureteroscopy. What is next? We examine potential directions from current research. Pharmacologic manipulation for ureteral dilation may obviate the need for pre-stenting or balloon dilation. Advances in ureteroscope technology will likely see the biggest advances. Different ureteroscopic platforms and the user interface with the surgeon will progress. Robotic manipulation of the endosocope is an eventual reality with improved ergonomics and improved performance to reach all areas of the kidney. Single-use ureteroscopes are already a reality and offer a digital image with full deflection with every use and without having to worry about sterilization and costly repairs. Lastly, advancements in nanotechnology and robotics will see the potential for miniaturized robots that could be administered intravesically to identify the stone and to disintegrate it. The only prediction that can be made about the future of ureteroscopy is that we do not know how it will look. The future of ureteroscopy is exciting and most definitely will be unrecognizable to the surgeons of today.