Comparison of single-use flexible ureteroscopes with a reusable ureteroscope for the management of paediatric urolithiasis

Published:January 18, 2023DOI:



      To compare the efficacy, side effects, and cost-effectiveness between a single-use digital flexible ureteroscope and a reusable flexible ureteroscope in the treatment of paediatric renal stones.


      This analytic, case-control, monocentric study included all patients undergoing flexible ureterosopies for stone treatment. Between April 2016 and February 2019, a reusable (Flex-XC®, Karl Storz) flexible ureteroscope was used (control group), whereas a single-use (Uscope®, PUSEN Medical©) flexible ureteroscope was used in all procedures from March 2019 to April 2021. Clinical and procedural outcomes, operative times, complication rates, hospital stay, and costs per procedure were evaluated.


      Forty-three cases using a reusable flexible ureteroscope and thirty-nine using a single-use flexible ureteroscope were included in the study. Demographic patient characteristics, stone burden, location and composition, preoperative presence of a double-J stent, procedural outcomes, mean length of postoperative hospital stay, and complications (4.6% versus 5%, p=0.81) were comparable between the two groups. Median operative duration for stone removal was 93 min (20-170) with reusable versus 81 min (55-107) with the single-use scope (p=0.18).
      Scope failure occurred four times with the reusable scope and in no case with the single-use. The total cost per procedure associated with the use of single-use scopes (798 Euros) was lower than a reusable scope (1483.23 Euros).


      Single-use flexible ureteroscopes were created to bypass the problems incurred when reusable scopes were damaged and therefore not available for use in surgical procedures. Single-use flexible ureteroscopes are always immediately available and ready to be used, even in urgent cases, as they typically do not require maintenance or sterilization. Compared with their reusable counterparts, single-use flexible ureteroscopes have similar digital performance (270°), image quality and we found no difference in the success and complication rates.
      Cost analysis of a reusable flexible ureteroscope must consider the purchase price, maintenance and repair costs, and decontamination costs (including handling, detergent, bacterial culture, transportation, and storage costs). In contrast, only purchase price is included in cost analysis for single-use flexible ureteroscopes. Our study suggests that single-use flexible ureteroscopes may be associated with lower costs per procedure than their reusable counterparts.


      Single-use flexible ureteroscopes are an interesting alternative to their reusable counterparts, particularly in terms of material resource management. Cost analyses conducted using a low volume of cases representative of a paediatric urology division favour the use of single-use ureteroscopes.


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