Does Omission of Ureteral Stents Increase Risk of Unplanned Return Visit? A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

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Post-ureteroscopy ureteral stent omission remains controversial. Although omission is associated with reduced postoperative discomfort, concern remains for early obstruction. We performed a systematic review and meta-analysis of trials to compare the risk of unplanned visits with vs without a stent following ureteroscopy for nephrolithiasis.

Materials and Methods:

Randomized, controlled trials and observational studies comparing post-ureteroscopic stent omission vs placement and reporting unplanned visits within 30 days were identified via a search of MEDLINE® (1946 to 2015), CENTRAL (Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, 1898 to 2015), Embase® (1947 to 2015), (1997 to 2015), AUA (American Urological Association) Annual Meeting abstracts (2011 to 2015) and reference lists of included articles as last updated in October 2015. Two reviewers independently extracted data and assessed methodological quality. ORs, RRs and weighted mean differences were calculated as appropriate for each outcome.


Of the initial 1,992 studies 17 in a total of 1,943 participants met inclusion criteria. Unstented patients were significantly more likely to have an unplanned medical visit compared to those who received a post-ureteroscopy stent (OR 1.63, 95% CI 1.15–2.30). Unstented patients had shorter operative time (weighted mean difference –3.19 minutes, 95% CI –5.64––0.74) and were less likely to experience dysuria (RR 0.39, 95% CI 0.25–0.62). They were also less likely to experience postoperative infection (OR 0.89, 95% CI 0.59–1.33) and pain (OR 0.64, 95% CI 0.39–1.05), although these results were not significant.


Stent omission is associated with an increased risk of unplanned medical visits despite reduced symptoms compared to those in stented patients. Patients and physicians should weigh these trade-offs when considering post-ureteroscopy stent placement.

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