Challenges of Retrograde Ureteroscopy in Patients with Urinary Diversion: Outcomes and Lessons Learnt from a Systematic Review of Literature

Retrograde ureteroscopy (URS) can be safely and successfully performed in patients who have had previous urinary diversion (UD). With broadening indications and advances in technology, URS can be used in complex cases. In this review article, we have summarized the relevant published literature regarding the outcomes and challenges encountered during retrograde URS in patients with UD.

We conducted a systematic review of literature according to Cochrane and preferred reporting items for systematic reviews and meta-analysis guidelines for all studies reporting on retrograde URS from inception to September 2017. A literature search was conducted through MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Cochrane library for all English language articles.

Our literature search identified 6 retrospective studies. In total, 125 patients with a mean age of 67 years (range 28-90 years) underwent retrograde URS (190 procedures) after UD for diagnostic and therapeutic purposes. The main indications included upper urinary tract filling defects (due to either intrinsic pathology or extrinsic compression), strictures due to ureteral thickening, stone disease, and surveillance for suspected malignancy. The success rate and complications across the studies varied from 56 to 80% and 0 to 44% respectively, with most complications being Clavien I in nature.

Retrograde URS can be technically challenging due to ureteric cannulation, strictures, and anatomical variations. However, there is very little evidence currently available on this topic with data based on retrospective case series. In experienced hands, it seems to be relatively successful with a low risk of major complications.

Urologia internationalis. 2018 Apr 03 [Epub ahead of print]

Meghana N Ramachandra, Bhaskar K Somani