Extracorporeal shock waves lithotripsy versus retrograde ureteroscopy: is radiation exposure a criterion when we choose which modern treatment to apply for ureteric stones?
The aim of this study is to compare two major urological procedures in terms of patient exposure to radiation. We evaluated 175 patients, that were subjected to retrograde ureteroscopy (URS) and extracorporeal shock waves lithotripsy (ESWL) for lumbar or pelvic ureteral lithiasis, at two urological departments. The C-arm Siemens (produced in 2010 by Siemens AG, Germany) was used for ureteroscopy. The radiological devices of the lithotripters used in this study in the two clinical centers had similar characteristics. We evaluated patient exposure to ionizing radiation by using a relevant parameter, the air kerma-area product (PKA; all values in cGy cm2), calculated from the radiation dose values recorded by the fluoroscopy device. PKA depends on technical parameters that change due to anatomical characteristics of each case examined, such as body mass index (BMI), waist circumference, and stone location. For the patients subjected to ESWL for lumbar ureteral lithiasis the mean of PKA (cGy cm2) was 509 (SD=180), while for those treated for pelvic ureteral lithiasis the mean of PKA was 342 (SD=201). In the URS group for lumbar ureteral lithiasis, the mean of PKA (cGy cm2) was 892 (SD=436), while for patients with pelvic ureteral lithiasis, the mean of PKA was 601 (SD=429). The patients treated by URS had higher exposure to ionizing radiation dose than patients treated by ESWL. The risk factors of higher radiation doses were obesity, exposure time, and localization of the stones.