Nephrostomy in percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL): does nephrostomy tube size matter? Results from The Global PCNL Study from The Clinical Research Office Endourology Society



To explore the relationships between nephrostomy tube (NT) size and outcome of percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL).


The Clinical Research Office of the Endourological Society (CROES) prospectively collected data from consecutive patients treated with PCNL over a 1-year period at 96 participating centers worldwide. This report focuses on the 3,968 patients who received a NT of known size. Preoperative, surgical procedure and outcome data were analyzed according to NT size, dividing patients into two groups, namely small-bore (SB; nephrostomy size ≤ 18 Fr) and large-bore (LB; nephrostomy size > 18 Fr) NT.


Patients who received a LB NT had a significantly lower rate of hemoglobin reduction (3.0 vs. 4.3 g/dL; P < 0.001), overall complications (15.8 vs. 21.4 %; P < 0.001) and a trend toward a lower rate of fever (9.1 vs. 10.7 %). Patients receiving a LB NT conversely had a statistically, though not clinically significant, longer postoperative hospital stay (4.4 vs. 4.2 days; P = 0.027). There were no differences in urinary leakage (0.9 vs. 1.3 %, P = 0.215) or stone-free rates (79.5 vs. 78.1 %, P = 0.281) between the two groups.


LB NTs seem to reduce bleeding and overall complication rate. These findings would suggest that if a NT has to be placed, it should better be a LB one.

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The Global PCNL Study was supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Olympus.

Conflict of interest

No competing financial interests exist.

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Corresponding author

Correspondence to Jean de la Rosette.

Additional information

This study was conducted on behalf of the CROES PCNL Study Group.

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Cormio, L., Preminger, G., Saussine, C. et al. Nephrostomy in percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL): does nephrostomy tube size matter? Results from The Global PCNL Study from The Clinical Research Office Endourology Society. World J Urol 31, 1563–1568 (2013).

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  • Exit strategy
  • Nephrostomy tube size
  • Renal access
  • Complications
  • PCNL