Latest advancements in ureteral stent technology
Urological diseases such as tumours, kidney stones, or strictures in the ureter can lead to a number of health consequences, including life-threatening complications. Ureteral stents have been widely used as a valid solution to restore compromised urological function. Despite their clinical success, stents are subject to failure due to encrustation and biofilm formation, potentially leading to urinary tract infection. The current review focuses on recent advancements in ureteral stent technology, which have been reported in recent scientific journals or patents. Web of Science and Google Scholar have been used as a search engine to perform this review, using the keywords “Ureteral + Stent + Design”, “Ureteral + Stent + Material + Coating”, “Ureteric + Stent” and “Ureteral + Stent”. A significant proportion of technological developments has focused on innovating the stent design to overcome migration and urinary reflux, as well as investigating novel materials and coatings to prevent biofilm formation, such as poly(N,N-dimethylacrylamide) (PDMMA) and swellable polyethylene glycol diacrylate (PEGDA). Biodegradable ureteral stents (BUS) have also emerged as a new generation of endourological devices, overcoming the “forgotten stent syndrome” and reducing healthcare costs. Moreover, efforts have been made to develop pre-clinical test methods, both experimental and computational, which could be employed as a screening platform to inform the design of novel stent technologies.