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BackTable / Urology / Podcast / Episode #13

Tips & Tricks for Difficult Ureteroscopy

with Dr. Jodi Antonelli and Dr. Aditya Bagrodia

UT Southwestern endourologist Dr. Jodi Antonelli shares her tips and tricks for difficult ureteroscopy cases. Listen to learn about pre-op and post-op medication, dealing with large prostates and narrow ureters, variations in baskets, access sheaths, and ureteroscopes, dusting vs. basket retrieval, and performing ureteroscopies on pregnant women.

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Tips & Tricks for Difficult Ureteroscopy with Dr. Jodi Antonelli and Dr. Aditya Bagrodia on the BackTable Urology Podcast)
Ep 13 Tips & Tricks for Difficult Ureteroscopy with Dr. Jodi Antonelli and Dr. Aditya Bagrodia
00:00 / 01:04

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2021, August 12). Ep. 13 – Tips & Tricks for Difficult Ureteroscopy [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from

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Podcast Contributors

Dr. Jodi Antonelli discusses Tips & Tricks for Difficult Ureteroscopy on the BackTable 13 Podcast

Dr. Jodi Antonelli

Dr. Jodi Antonelli is a practicing Endourologist and Associate Professor in the Department of Urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia discusses Tips & Tricks for Difficult Ureteroscopy on the BackTable 13 Podcast

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia is an associate professor of urology and genitourinary oncology team leader at UC San Diego Health in California and adjunct professor of urology at UT Southwestern.


In this episode of BackTable Urology, Dr. Aditya Bagrodia interviews UT Southwestern endourologist Dr. Jodi Antonelli about her tips and tricks for difficult ureteroscopy cases.

First, the doctors discuss the treatment of acute patients presenting with flank pain in the emergency department. In these cases, it is important to obtain a comprehensive patient history complete with vitals, temperature, bloodwork, urinalysis, and appropriate imaging. Indications for intervention include: febrile state, hemodynamic instability, severe pain, and a combination of tachycardia and hypertension. Dr. Antonelli advises urologists to avoid relying solely on urinalysis, as a patient with inflammation may present similar results to one with ureteral stones. In patients who require drainage, Dr. Antonelli prefers to use a nephrostomy tube instead of a stent if the ureteral stone exceeds 1.5 centimeters or if she encounters difficulty in the prostate or bladder anatomy.

For non-acute patients, a trial of passage is recommended if the stone has not occupied an obstructive position for more than 6 weeks. For stone passage patients, Dr. Antonelli prescribes NSAIDS, which she has found to be more effective than narcotics in pain management. If she decides that medical expulsive therapy is appropriate for a ureteral stone patient, she prescribes alpha blockers for both proximal and distal stones. Finally, she notes that relying on the disappearance of symptoms to confirm stone passage is insufficient; before declaring a patient stone-free, imaging, such as a KUB X-ray, must be performed.

If the trial of passage fails, surgical intervention is the next step. Ureteroscopy is an ideal minimally invasive method of extracting ureteral stones. Dr. Antonelli’s pre-operative regimen consists of obtaining a urinalysis and urine culture at least 2 weeks before surgery. She recommends at least 5 to 6 days of culture-specific antibiotics if the patient has a positive urine culture. In the context of the ureteroscopy procedure, Dr. Antonelli emphasizes the importance of being very thorough with ureteroscopy to find tumors in the bladder. Furthermore, Dr. Antonelli discusses her approaches to getting a wire past a difficult stone and dealing with anatomically complex cases that involve large prostates and narrow ureters. She acknowledges that in some cases, the best option is to place a stent to dilate the ureter and attempt the surgery again in the next week.

One method of surgically removing ureteral stones is through the use of a basket. Dr. Antonelli discusses the different basket shapes and manufacturers she prefers to use. However, if the stone is too big or positioned at an unfavorable angle for basket retrieval, dusting the stone is a possible alternative. Although Dr. Antonelli addresses the rapid advancement of dusting laser technology, she also discusses potential risks of dusting--the creation of small stone fragments increases the likelihood of stone recurrence and reduces intraoperative visibility.

The post-operative medications Dr. Antonelli prescribes are: NSAIDS, anticholinergics to help with LUTS, alpha blockers to relax ureter, urinary tract anesthetic, and stool softener. She recommends ordering a post-operative metabolic evaluation, an ultrasound, and a KUB six weeks after surgery.

Transcript Preview

Dr. Jodi Antonelli:
There's, I think, a lot of excitement about what thulium fiber laser may be able to offer particularly for dusting. I think the idea is that the ability to really alter your power delivery both the amount and the way it's delivered may help us to actually truly generate dust from a stone. So, there's a lot of work being done now because, obviously, there's going to be some upper limit to this energy generation and the concerns of maybe a downside to that energy generation and the collecting system in terms of potential damage to the urothelium with heat generation and things like that. So, I think there's a lot more to come and I think it's an exciting time for laser technology for stones.

Disclaimer: The Materials available on are for informational and educational purposes only and are not a substitute for the professional judgment of a healthcare professional in diagnosing and treating patients. The opinions expressed by participants of the BackTable Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.

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A backtable set up for a ureteroscopy

Ureteroscopy: Technique & Management

Patient with a secured nephrostomy tube from treatment of obstructive pyelonephritis

Emergent Treatment of Obstructive Pyelonephritis


Kidney Stones Condition Overview
Nephrostomy Tube Insertion Procedure Prep
Ureteral Stones Condition Overview
Ureteroscopy Procedure Prep

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