The effect of preoperative tamsulosin on ureteroscopic access in school-aged children

Published:September 03, 2021DOI:



      Flexible ureteroscopes are not tailored for pediatric ureteral size and may not pass at first attempt into the pediatric ureter. Administration of tamsulosin preoperatively in adults has been shown to facilitate ureteral access sheath placement. Several studies have shown tamsulosin to be safe and effective when utilized for medical expulsive therapy in pediatric patients, but its utility for preoperative ureteral dilation has not been studied to date.


      We hypothesized that preoperative tamsulosin reduces failed ureteroscopic access in children.

      Materials and methods

      We conducted a retrospective review of patients aged 0–18 years undergoing flexible ureteroscopy (URS) from 2014 to 2019 at a single institution. Patients were divided into those taking 0.4 mg of tamsulosin daily for at least 1 week prior to surgery and those not taking tamsulosin. The primary outcome was failure to pass a 7.95 Fr flexible ureteroscope on initial attempt, requiring stent placement and staged management. Patients undergoing URS or stent placement within the prior year, requiring semi-rigid URS, or with genitourinary anomalies were excluded.

      Results and discussion

      A total of 49 patients met inclusion criteria. The tamsulosin group (n = 13) and non-tamsulosin group (n = 36) were similar with respect to demographic data. The percentage of prepubertal patients was 53% vs 33% (p = 0.19). The tamsulosin group had lower failed URS (38% vs 61%, p = 0.20). When stratified by age, both prepubertal and postpubertal patients in the tamsulosin group had lower failed URS (43% vs 67%, p = 0.67 and 33% vs 58%, p = 0.38). These clinically significant results suggest initial passage of a flexible ureteroscope is more successful in pediatric patients on preoperative tamsulosin. This study was largely limited by its low power and flaws inherent to its retrospective design.


      Summary Figure
      Graphical AbstractComparison of failed URS at initial surgical attempt in pediatric patients receiving 7 or more days of tamsulosin preoperatively compared to those who received no tamsulosin.



      CIRF (Clinically insignificant residual fragments), MET (Medical expulsive therapy), UAS (Ureteral access sheath), URS (Ureteroscopy)
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