What is the role of percutaneous therapy in the treatment of urothelial tumors of the renal pelvis and ureters?

Updated: Aug 07, 2020
  • Author: Kyle A Richards, MD, FACS; Chief Editor: Bradley Fields Schwartz, DO, FACS  more...
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Percutaneous therapy allows the use of larger scopes with improved maneuverability and visibility to ablate larger tumors in the renal pelvis and upper ureter. Percutaneous access may be used to administer topical therapeutic agents such as BCG or mitomycin. This approach is an acceptable alternative to nephroureterectomy in patients with low–grade disease. However, as with all organ-preserving strategies, vigilant follow-up surveillance is required.

Percutaneous techniques allow a renal-sparing approach and are well suited for large-volume disease of the renal pelvis and proximal ureter.

Percutaneous access to the diseased renal unit is established, followed by tract dilation. This allows the passage of nephroscopes, laser fibers, biopsy forceps, and electrosurgical resection devices to completely resect and ablate tumors under direct vision.

Percutaneous access also allows for a deeper resection and more accurate staging than ureteroscopy for tumors of the renal pelvis and kidney.

Tumor seeding of the nephrostomy tract, although rare, has been reported and is associated with high-grade lesions.

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