Two-micron thulium laser resection of the distal ureter and bladder cuff during nephroureterectomy for upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma
The thulium laser (Tm-laser) technique has been used in the management of many urologic conditions. The present study aimed to evaluate the use of this technique for distal ureter and bladder cuff (DUBC) excision during nephroureterectomy for upper urinary tract urothelial carcinoma (UUT-UC). Fifty-eight patients with UUT-UC who underwent radical nephroureterectomy were included in this retrospective study. DUBC was managed by open excision in 24 cases, by transurethral electrosurgery in 17 cases, and by transurethral Tm-laser in 17 cases. Perioperative measures and oncologic outcomes were compared among the three groups. Furthermore, 11 human ureteral segments were collected to measure the burst pressure and show physical pressure tolerance, and six ureteral segments were assessed histologically to investigate the sealing effect. Operative time and hospital stay were significantly longer, and intraoperative blood loss was significantly greater in the open excision group than in the electrosurgery and Tm-laser groups (P < 0.05 for all). There were no significant differences in these parameters between the electrosurgery and Tm-laser groups. In addition, there were no significant differences in the incidences of bladder tumors and retroperitoneal recurrence of urothelial carcinoma among the three groups. The coagulation time and resection time were significantly shorter in the Tm-laser group than in the electrosurgery group. The mean burst pressure did not differ significantly between the tissues sealed by electrosurgery and by Tm-laser. Histopathological analyses showed that distal ureters were completely sealed by both electrosurgery and Tm-laser. The Tm-laser technique is superior to open excision and comparable to transurethral electrosurgery in the management of DUBC during nephroureterectomy for UUT-UC, offering an alternative treatment option for this condition.