Is measurement of stone surface area necessary for SWL treatment of nonstaghorn calculi?

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Background and purpose: The size of urinary tract stones is usually assessed by the longest diameter (LD) alone. Logically, however, two-dimensional measurement of the stone surface area (SSA) susceptible to shockwaves would give more useful information for the planning of treatment by extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (SWL). This has been shown for staghorn calculi. The aim of this study was to determine for nonstaghorn kidney and ureter stones whether the LD alone identifies as reliably a subgroup of patients with a stone of a certain size as does the SSA. Furthermore, we sought to determine whether the LD alone indicates as reliably the number of patients who would be rendered stone free after one SWL session within a certain subgroup as would the SSA.
Patients and Methods: Retrospectively, SWL treatment and radiographic data of 330 patients who had undergone SWL for a single stone were analyzed.
Results: Ureteral stones were significantly smaller on average, and ureteral stone patients needed fewer SWL treatment sessions and fewer shockwaves to become stone free. Stratification of both kidney and ureteral stones by either LD or SSA resulted in comparable groups of patients. There were no significant differences in patient, stone, or treatment data. More importantly, the stone-free rates after one treatment did not differ significantly.
Conclusion: The LD does accurately reflect the size of a nonstaghorn kidney or ureteral stones. Therefore, the measurement of LD, as generally practiced, appears clinically sufficient and appropriate for the assessment of stone size prior to SWL in both kidney and ureteral stones.

Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Endourology