Purpose of review: The management of large intrarenal stones (>2 cm) is typically percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Although the stone-free rate (SFR) of such a procedure is high (up to 95%), the complications related mainly to the renal access are sometimes a concern. Because of the evolution in technology, it is nowadays possible to treat intrarenal stones with retrograde intrarenal surgery. It remains unclear weather or not retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS) may be effective also for the treatment of larger stones (>2 cm). The purpose of this review is to provide recent data on the ureteroscopic management of kidney stones larger than 2.5 cm.
Recent findings: A systematic review of the literature for studies identified between January 2000 and September 2013 was performed. Only English language articles reporting on more than 10 cases treated with RIRS for intrarenal stones larger than 2.5 cm were considered for this review.
Particular emphasis was given to studies published within the last 12 months. Of the 324 studies identified, only 10 were considered suitable for this review. There were a total of 441 patients with a mean stone size of 2.9 cm. The SFR with an average of 1.6 procedures was 89.3%. The overall complication rate was 8% with major complication rate of 1.9%.
Summary: Although not supported by high evidence because of the absence of prospective randomized studies, it appears that in selected patients with large intrarenal stones, RIRS and laser lithotripsy may offer an acceptable efficacy with low morbidity.