Bladder stones (BS) constitute 5% of urinary stones. Currently, there is no systematic review of their treatment.
To assess the efficacy (primary outcome: stone-free rate [SFR]) and morbidity of BS treatments.
This systematic review was conducted in accordance with the European Association of Urology Guidelines Office. Database searches (1970–2019) were screened, abstracted, and assessed for risk of bias for comparative randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and nonrandomised studies (NRSs) with ≥10 patients per group. Quality of evidence (QoE) was assessed using the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development, and Evaluation (GRADE) tool.
A total of 2742 abstracts and 59 full-text articles were assessed, and 25 studies (2340 patients) were included. In adults, one RCT found a lower SFR following shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) than transurethral cystolithotripsy (TUCL; risk ratio 0.88, p = 0.03; low QoE). Four RCTs compared TUCL versus percutaneous cystolithotripsy (PCCL): meta-analyses demonstrated no difference in SFR, but hospital stay (mean difference [MD] 0.82 d, p < 0.00001) and procedure duration (MD 9.83 min, p < 0.00001) favoured TUCL (moderate QoE). Four NRSs comparing open cystolithotomy (CL) versus TUCL or PCCL found no difference in SFR; hospital stay and procedure duration favoured endoscopic surgery (very low QoE). Four RCTs compared TUCL using a nephroscope versus a cystoscope: meta-analyses demonstrated no difference in SFR; procedure duration favoured the use of a nephroscope (MD 22.74 min, p < 0.00001; moderate QoE). In children, one NRS showed a lower SFR following SWL than TUCL or CL. Two NRSs comparing CL versus TUCL/PCCL found similar SFRs; catheterisation time and hospital stay favoured endoscopic treatments. One RCT comparing laser versus pneumatic TUCL found no difference in SFR. One large NRS comparing CL techniques found a shorter hospital stay after tubeless CL in selected cases; QoE was very low.
Current available evidence indicates that TUCL is the intervention of choice for BSs in adults and children, where feasible. Further high-quality research on the topic is required.
We examined the literature to determine the most effective and least harmful procedures for bladder stones in adults and children. The results suggest that endoscopic surgery is equally effective as open surgery. It is unclear whether stone size affects outcomes. Shock wave lithotripsy appears to be less effective. Endoscopic treatments appear to have shorter catheterisation time and convalescence compared with open surgery in adults and children. Transurethral surgery, where feasible, appears to have a shorter hospital stay than percutaneous surgery. Further research is required to clarify the efficacy of minimally invasive treatments for larger stones and in young children.