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International Urology and Nephrology

, Volume 50, Issue 10, pp 1779–1785 | Cite as

Small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and nitrogen porosimetry (NP): two novel techniques for the evaluation of urinary stone hardness

  • Nick Vordos
  • Stilianos GiannakopoulosEmail author
  • Etienne F. Vansant
  • Christos Kalaitzis
  • John W. Nolan
  • Dimitrios V. Bandekas
  • Ioannis Karavasilis
  • Athanasios Ch. Mitropoulos
  • Stavros Touloupidis
Urology - Original Paper

Abstract

Purpose

To evaluate urinary stones using small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS) and nitrogen porosimetry (NP). Traditionally, stones are categorized as hard or soft based on their chemical composition. We hypothesized that stone hardness is associated not only with its chemical composition but also with its internal architecture. SAXS and NP are well-known techniques in material sciences. We tested whether SAXS and NP are applicable for evaluating human urinary stones and whether they provide information at the nanoscale level that could be useful in clinical practice.

Methods

Thirty endoscopically removed urinary stones were studied. Standard techniques for stone analysis were used to determine the stone composition. SAXS was used to evaluate the solid part of the stone by measuring the crystal thickness (T) and the fractal dimension (Dm/Ds), while NP was used to evaluate the porosity of the stone, i.e., the pore radius, pore volume, and specific surface area (SSA).

Results

All stones were successfully analyzed with SAXS and NP. Each stone demonstrated unique characteristics regarding T, Dm/Ds, pore radius, pore volume, and SSA. Significant differences in those parameters were seen among the stones with almost identical chemical compositions. The combination of high T, high SSA, low Dm/Ds, low pore volume, and low pore radius is indicative of a hard material and vice versa.

Conclusions

SAXS and NP can be used to evaluate human urinary stones. They provide information on stone hardness based on their nanostructure characteristics, which may be different even among stones with similar compositions

Keywords

Stone analysis SAXS Nitrogen porosimetry Urinary calculi 

Abbreviations

SWL

Shockwave lithotripsy

SAXS

Small-angle X-ray scattering

NP

Nitrogen porosimetry

SEM

Scanning electron microscopy

KS

Kidney stone

FTIR

Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy

SSA

Specific surface area

CT

Computed tomography

HU

Hounsfield units

Notes

Author contributions

NV, SG, and ST conceived the study, participated in its design. NV, SG, JW, and EV analyzed the data. NV, SG, DB, IK, CK, and AM participated in interpretation of data, as well as in drafting the manuscript and revising it critically. All authors have read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

The study was approved by the institutional review board of the University Hospital of Alexandroupolis, Greece.

Supplementary material

11255_2018_1961_MOESM1_ESM.docx (187 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 63 KB)

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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nick Vordos
    • 1
    • 4
  • Stilianos Giannakopoulos
    • 2
    Email author
  • Etienne F. Vansant
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christos Kalaitzis
    • 2
  • John W. Nolan
    • 1
  • Dimitrios V. Bandekas
    • 4
  • Ioannis Karavasilis
    • 2
  • Athanasios Ch. Mitropoulos
    • 1
  • Stavros Touloupidis
    • 2
  1. 1.Hephaestus Advanced LaboratoryEastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of TechnologyKavalaGreece
  2. 2.Department of UrologyDemocritus University of ThraceAlexandroupolisGreece
  3. 3.Laboratory of Adsorption and Catalysis, Department of ChemistryUniversity of AntwerpenWilrijkBelgium
  4. 4.Department of Electrical EngineeringEastern Macedonia and Thrace Institute of TechnologyKavalaGreece

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