Economic outcomes of treatment for ureteral and renal stones: A systematic literature review

Brian R. Matlaga, Jeroen P. Jansen, Lisa M. Meckley, Thomas W. Byrne, James E. Lingeman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose: We evaluated the cost-effectiveness of ureteral/renal stone treatment by comparing ureteroscopy, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy and percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Materials and Methods: We performed a systematic literature search to identify studies of treatment for adults with ureteral and renal stones that were published between 1995 and 2010. For inclusion in analysis studies had to provide the stone-free rate and the cost of at least 2 therapies. Results: Ten studies were identified, including 8 with an observational design and 2 that synthesized data using decision modeling techniques. Five of 6 studies, including 1 of 2 from the United States, compared ureteroscopy vs shock wave lithotripsy for proximal stones and showed a higher stone-free rate and lower cost for ureteroscopy. Four of the 5 studies, including the only American study, compared ureteroscopy vs shock wave lithotripsy for distal ureteral stones and also showed such an economically dominant result. Studies of shock wave lithotripsy vs percutaneous nephrolithotomy and ureteroscopy vs percutaneous nephrolithotomy for renal stones demonstrated higher cost and a higher stone-free rate for percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Conclusions: Despite the great heterogeneity and limited quality of available cost-effectiveness evaluations most studies demonstrated that ureteroscopy was more favorable than shock wave lithotripsy for ureteral stones in stone-free rate and cost.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-454
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Urology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 2012


  • cost-benefit analysis
  • kidney calculi
  • lithotripsy
  • ureteral calculi
  • ureteroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology

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