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Laser-guided real-time automatic target identification for endoscopic stone lithotripsy: A two-arm in vivo porcine comparison study

: Schlager, Daniel; Schulte, Antonia; Schütz, Jan; Brandenburg, Albrecht; Schell, Christoph; Lamrini, Samir; Vogel, Markus; Teichmann, Heinrich-Otto; Miernik, Arkadiusz

Volltext ()

World journal of urology 39 (2021), Nr.7, S.2719-2726
ISSN: 0724-4983
ISSN: 1433-8726
Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung BMBF (Deutschland)
Zeitschriftenaufsatz, Elektronische Publikation
Fraunhofer IPM ()
laser lithotripsy; Holmium laser; autofluorescence; feedback control

Introduction and objective
Thermal injuries associated with Holmium laser lithotripsy of the urinary tract are an underestimated problem in stone therapy. Surgical precision relies exclusively on visual target identification when applying laser energy for stone disintegration. This study evaluates a laser system that enables target identification automatically during bladder stone lithotripsy, URS, and PCNL in a porcine animal model.
Holmium laser lithotripsy was performed on two domestic pigs by an experienced endourology surgeon in vivo. Human stone fragments (4–6 mm) were inserted in both ureters, renal pelvises, and bladders. Ho:YAG laser lithotripsy was conducted as a two-arm comparison study, evaluating the target identification system against common lithotripsy. We assessed the ureters’ lesions according to PULS and the other locations descriptively. Post-mortem nephroureterectomy and cystectomy specimens were examined by a pathologist.
The sufficient disintegration of stone samples was achieved in both setups. Endoscopic examination revealed numerous lesions in the urinary tract after the commercial Holmium laser system. The extent of lesions with the feedback system was semi-quantitatively and qualitatively lower. The energy applied was significantly less, with a mean reduction of more than 30% (URS 27.1%, PCNL 52.2%, bladder stone lithotripsy 17.1%). Pathology examination revealed only superficial lesions in both animals. There was no evidence of organ perforation in either study arm.
Our study provides proof-of-concept for a laser system enabling automatic real-time target identification during lithotripsy on human urinary stones. Further studies in humans are necessary, and to objectively quantify this new system’s advantages, investigations involving a large number of cases are mandatory.