World Journal of Urology

, Volume 36, Issue 9, pp 1461–1467 | Cite as

A contemporary lower pole approach for complete staghorn calculi: outcomes and efficacy

  • Kyle A. Blum
  • Egor Parkhomenko
  • Julie Thai
  • Timothy Tran
  • Mantu Gupta
Original Article



Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is the preferred surgical treatment for staghorn stones. Two approaches are commonly employed to gain access into the collecting system which consists of either an upper pole (UP) approach or lower pole (LP) approach. However, opinions vary on which approach offers the best access and outcome. In this study, we aim to challenge the traditional paradigm that staghorn stones are most effectively treated through a prone UP approach. We herein report our institutional experience using a prone LP access in PCNL for patients with complete staghorn stones.


Data were prospectively collected over 3 years on 473 PCNL procedures, of which 76 patients had complete staghorn calculi (five or more calyces). Operative and peri-operative outcomes were analyzed to compare a modified LP approach with the more widely accepted UP approach.


A total of 59/76 (77.6%) patients had LP access. There was no difference in the ability of completing the surgery utilizing a single tract as opposed to multiple tracts (74.6% of LP patients vs. 76.5% of UP patients). Stone-free rates for LP and UP access were similar (74.5 versus 70.5%, respectively; p = 0.760. Complication rates were lower for LP access vs. UP access (3.4 vs. 23.5%, p = 0.02) with two pulmonary complications in the UP group. Overall median operative time was not significantly different between LP and UP access (112.0 vs. 126.0 min, p = 0.486).


Prone LP access demonstrated similar efficacy with decreased morbidity in patients with complete staghorn calculi compared to prone UP access.


Nephrolithiasis Calculi Lower pole PCNL Complete staghorn Access Upper Pole Stones Complex stones Kidney Renal 


Author contributions

KAB: project development, data collection, data analysis, and manuscript writing. EP: data collection, data analysis, and manuscript writing. JT: data analysis and manuscript writing. TT: manuscript writing. MG: project development and manuscript writing.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Ethical approval

For this type of study, formal consent is not required.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of UrologyIcahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai HospitalNew YorkUSA

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