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Introduction: Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is the gold standard for treating large or complex renal stones. Renal drainage after the procedure is most commonly via nephrostomy tube or indwelling ureteral stent, but the optimal duration of ureteral stents after PCNL is currently unknown. This study describes the post-operative events occurring with early stent removal on post-operative day one (POD1) in patients undergoing uncomplicated PCNL.
Methods: We identified 336 patients from a single institution that underwent PCNL between 1/1/2020 and 6/1/2021. Of these, 106 patients with uncomplicated procedures that met inclusion criteria for early stent removal on POD1 were included. Retrospective chart review was performed to collect demographic information, operative data, and to identify adverse outcomes including additional procedures, patient telephone calls for symptoms, complications and emergency department (ED) visits.
Results: Mean (SD) patient age was 54 (15.1) years and 56% of patients were morbidly obese (Body Mass Index [BMI] >30). Overall post-operative complication rate was low (18.8%) and limited primarily to Clavien I/II complications with only two Clavien III (1.9%) complications. Telephone calls or electronic messages were received from 37.7% of patients, with 16% requiring a visit to the ED or clinic. The most common reason for an ED visit was flank pain (11.1%).
Conclusions: Early stent removal on POD1 may lead to pain-related telephone calls but appears to be a generally safe and effective management option in carefully selected patients undergoing uncomplicated PCNL.
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