Miniaturization of percutaneous nephrolithotomy Smaller, but better?

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Purpose of review

Miniaturized percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) procedures have reached big popularity in the past years. Following the idea that decreasing the diameter of the instruments would decrease the complication rate instruments with outer diameter down to 4,8 Fr was established. In this review, we want to take a critical insight of the most popular miniaturized procedures, regarding the key advantages and disadvantages of the miniaturized instruments.

Recent findings

For all techniques displayed, a number of studies are available to support their effectivity in the given range of indication. Naturally, the body of evidence for M-sized instruments is largest, as it exists in the armamentarium since long, whereas studies comparing small or extrasmall and extraextrasmall to standard or among each other are rare. However, large studies comparing miniaturized procedures with conventional PCNL in randomized controlled fashion are still lacking, too.


Miniaturization and attending developments such as ultrasonographic-guided puncture, single step dilatation of the tract, low irrigation pressure in open systems and a tubeless procedure lead to lower complication rates in PCNL. All of the established procedures have their own range of indication with regard to size and location of the stone. They amplified the possibility of a customized therapy for each patient.

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