Episode 9

Tips & Tricks for Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

with Dr. Margaret Pearle and Dr. Aditya Bagrodia

BackTable, LLC (Producer). (2021, June 16). Ep. 9 – Tips & Tricks for Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) [Audio podcast]. Retrieved from https://www.backtable.com/urology

Dr. Margaret Pearle, the Vice Chair of Urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center, joins us to discuss percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). Dr. Pearle shares advice on pre-operative urine culture analysis, CT scans, percutaneous access, and placing a ureteral stent vs. a nephrostomy tube

Podcast Participants

Dr. Margaret Pearle

Dr. Margaret Pearle

Dr. Margaret Pearl is a Professor and Vice Chair of Urology at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, TX.

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia

Dr. Aditya Bagrodia

Host Dr. Aditya Bagrodia is a practicing urologic oncologist and assistant professor at UT southwestern.

Dr. Jose Silva

Dr. Jose Silva

Co-host Dr. Jose Silva is a board certified urologist practicing in Central Florida.

BackTable Urology Podcast Mobile Banner Click to Listen
BackTable Urology Podcast Desktop Banner Click to Listen

Show Notes

In this episode of BackTable Urology, Dr. Margaret Pearle, an endourologist specializing in complex kidney stone cases, joins Dr. Aditya Bagrodia and Dr. Jose Silva to share her preoperative, intraoperative, and postoperative advice on the percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) procedure.

First, the doctors discuss preoperative considerations such as absolute indications for PCNL, preferred imaging modalities and urine culture analysis. Dr. Pearle notes that, although every kidney stone patient is a potential candidate for PCNL, PCNL is ideal for patients with large and complex stones and/or patients with no other access options besides percutaneous access. Her preferred imaging modality is CT imaging without contrast, and she emphasizes that a surgeon must study the patient’s collecting system anatomy extensively before operating. Dr. Pearle also adopts an aggressive preoperative antibiotic regimen in patients who present with positive urine culture analyses at least two weeks before the operation.

Then, Dr. Pearle discusses the PCNL operation in the context of achieving percutaneous access, her tools of choice, and operating red flags. She advocates for urologists to learn how to gain percutaneous access without the assistance of an interventional radiologist, but still acknowledges that working with an interventional radiologist is helpful, especially in cases where ultrasound-guided access is needed. She then delineates the type of guide wire, introducer set, sheaths, and nephroscopes she uses and explains how to distinguish the posterior calyx from the anterior calyx using balloon dilation and contrast. Some signs to abort the PCNL procedure are: a significant amount of bleeding, the presence of pus, and a significant perforation of the collecting system.

Finally, Dr. Pearle discusses postoperative decisions, such as whether to place a ureteral stent or a nephrostomy tube. She advises urologists to check the kidney with a flexible nephroscope and to get a postoperative contrast-enhanced ultrasound to confirm that patients are really stone-free. Also, she always gets a chest CT that includes lung bases to check for the presence of a hydrothorax.


Jeffrey Wire Guide Exchange Set (Cook Medical):

Shockpulse Stone Eliminator (Olympus):

Swiss LithoClast Trilogy (Boston Scientific):

Transcript Preview

[Dr. Margaret Pearle]
I mean, there's no question that anybody can do a PCNL if you have precise, well-thought out access. And on the other hand, even a very experienced urologist can fail at a PCNL if the access was ill-chosen.

So, I think preoperative planning and decision making in terms of where you want that percutaneous puncture is critical. And careful look at the CT scan is important. The fact is, though, we do CTs with patients in the supine position, and there's no question that things move when you're prone. So, there'll be times that I think, “Oh, if I put the patient prone, everything, the colon is going to fall forward,” but it doesn't. It tends to be just the opposite. It's like it squeezes the colon further posteriorly.

Join The Discussion

Up Next

Management of Localized Prostate Cancer BackTable Urology Podcast Guest Dr. Jeff Cadeddu
Getting Into Urology Residency BackTable Urology Podcast Guest Dr. Blake Johnson
Patient Selection for GreenLight & Other BPH Treatments BackTable Urology Podcast Guest Dr. Francisco Gelpi
Tips & Tricks for Difficult Ureteroscopy BackTable Urology Podcast Guest Dr. Jodi Antonelli
Management of Bladder Cancer BackTable Urology Podcast Guest Dr. Aditya Bagrodia

Disclaimer: The Materials available on BackTable.com 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 Urology Podcast belong solely to the participants, and do not necessarily reflect the views of BackTable.


Keep Up With Your Peers

Get BackTable Urology In Your Inbox

Thank you for subscribing to the BackTable Newsletter!

BackTable Urology Podcast Favicon


Tel: 318-820-1023

1023 Walnut St. Suite 100

Boulder,  Colorado  80302

  • YouTube
  • White Twitter Icon
  • White LinkedIn Icon
  • Instagram
  • White Facebook Icon

© 2021 by Backtable. All rights reserved.


Please review our Terms of Use.