Urology Research & Practice
ENDOUROLOGY - Invited Review

Safety and feasibility of percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) during pregnancy: A review of literature


Urological Surgery Department, University Hospital Southampton NHS Trust, Southampton, UK

Urol Res Pract 2020; 46: 89-94
DOI: 10.5152/tud.2020.20002
Read: 1616 Downloads: 672 Published: 28 February 2020

Objective: Management of nephrolithiasis during pregnancy can be challenging because of the potential risks to the mother and fetus. Diagnosis and treatment can be a dilemma owing to the anatomical and physiological changes, besides the limitation in the use of X-rays. The aim of this article was to identify any case series or case reports where percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) was used as a treatment modality for nephrolithiasis in pregnancy.

Material and methods: A review of the literature was performed using Medline, EMBASE, CINAHL, and Scopus from 1990 to October 2019. A search was conducted using the following search terms: “urolithiasis,” “renal stones,” “stone disease,” “kidney stones,” “pregnancy,” “pregnant,” “percutaneous nephrolithotomy,” “PNL,” and “PCNL.” The initial search strategy retrieved 52 articles, but after going through them, only 7 were suitable for inclusion in this review.

Results: Overall, seven studies reported regarding 16 patients who underwent PCNL procedure during pregnancy. The patients were aged 18–34 years and had the procedure between 11 and 32 weeks of gestation. Most stones were in the renal pelvis or pelvic-ureteric junction and sized 8–40 mm, with the most common indication for the intervention being refractory pain. Most treatments used ultrasound guidance, and X-ray fluoroscopy was employed only in two cases. No complications occurred to the mother or fetus in any of the case reports, suggesting that PCNL is a safe and feasible treatment for patients with persistent symptoms when conservative treatment has failed.

Conclusion: All the reported cases of PCNL achieved stone-free status with no complications. Although PCNL has been evidenced to be safe, it must be performed by experienced endourologists after careful consultation with the obstetricians. Patient counseling and multidisciplinary team decision-making are paramount in such complex scenarios.

Cite this article as: Ramachandra M, Somani BK. Safety and feasibility of percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) during pregnancy: A review of literature. Turk J Urol 2020; 46(2): 89-94.

EISSN 2980-1478