Urinary stone disease is a frequent challenge for the urologic practitioner. Stones are the only disease mentioned by name in the Hippocratic Oath and the removal of bladder stones was one of the earliest surgical procedures provided by the first surgeon-barbers. In the last century, as technology has continued to advance at a more rapid pace, our ability to treat nephrolithiasis has paralleled these developments. From traditional open surgery to now more minimally invasive stone removal, surgical treatment options in the last several decades have transformed. Much remains to be understood, however, including the fundamental underpinnings driving how stones are formed. Despite our vast and growing array of surgical techniques for treating stones, many basic questions centered on how stones are formed remain unanswered. Reflective of these knowledge gaps, this is an exciting time for endourology–epidemiological research has highlighted links between urinary stones and elements of the metabolic syndrome, raising fascinating questions on whether nephrolithiasis may be one facet of many inter-related pathologies. In this special issue, we have the honor of presenting a series of reviews by some of the worlds’ foremost endourologists highlighting a few of the interesting topics in endourology. We have made an effort to provide both an overview of the topic at hand and also a perspective on how we and others approach some of the complex topics faced by endourologists and urologists treating nephrolithiasis on a daily basis. With a growing incidence of urinary stones seen worldwide, we hope that you find this special issue applicable to and a resource for your practice.
Assistant Professor, Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA. (Email: TChi@urology.ucsf.edu.)
Professor and Vice Chair, Department of Urology, University of California, San Francisco, California, USA. (Email: MStoller@urology.ucsf.edu.)