The role of robotic surgery in the management of renal tract calculi

Thiru Suntharasivam, Ankur Mukherjee, Angus Luk, Omar Aboumarzouk, Bhaskar Somani, Bhavan Prasad Rai


The role of robotic assisted surgery in contemporary urolithiasis management is in its infancy. The mainstay in the management of renal tract calculi remains ureterorenoscopy (URS), extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) and percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). However, in rare clinical circumstances, such as large impacted pelvic and ureteric calculi, endo-urological techniques may not be adequate. Furthermore, patient may have a synchronous pathology such as pelvi-ureteric obstruction which preferably should be concurrently treated with the renal calculi in a single sitting. Robotic assisted laparoscopic ureterolithotomy (RALU), robotic assisted laparoscopic pyelolithotomy (RPL) with or without concurrent pyeloplasty and Robotic assisted laparoscopic anatrophic nephrolithotomy have all been described for complex stones. Additionally, technical challenges with a flexible ureteroscopy (FURS) have led to the development of robotic assisted flexible ureteroscopes. In the article we summarize the role of robotic assisted surgery in complex renal tract calculi.