Handling and protecting your flexible ureteroscope: how to maximise scope usage
Flexible ureteroscopy is an important therapeutic and diagnostic procedure and has seen rapid rise in its utilisation in recent years. There have been numerous developments in flexible ureteroscope (fURS) technology but scope fragility, and the associated high maintenance costs, remains a concern. A comprehensive Medline search for related publications from the last 20 years was undertaken to identify common causes of fURS damage and ascertain practices to minimise this. Flexible ureteroscopy can be due to intraoperative causes (loss of the deflection mechanism, damage to the working channel due and fibreoptic bundle injury) and non-operative damage which occur during cleaning, sterilisation and handling of the fURS. The review summarises the available literature to help highlight common mechanisms of scope damage, and outlines evidence-based measures to reduce the risk of damage and maximise durability. Scope fragility remains a problem with significant associated cost implications. In a culture of rising fURS use and reducing re-imbursement for endourologists, prolonging the longevity of the fURS is imperative for maintaining profitability. There are simple and inexpensive practices which can be immediately adopted to maximise fURS use and reduce the need for repairs.