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Editorial Comment for Bhattu et al.


Background and purpose

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) traditionally necessitates the placement of a nephrostomy tube at the conclusion of the surgical procedure. Although tubeless PCNL has become more popular, patients with complex problems still need traditional nephrostomy tube drainage. The goal of this study was to investigate whether patient body mass index (BMI) impacted inadvertent nephrostomy tube dislodgement. Furthermore, we hoped to determine whether nephrostomy tube type impacted tube dislodgement rates.


A retrospective review between 2005 and 2012 of 475 consecutive PCNL cases was undertaken. Patients were categorized based on the type of nephrostomy tube placed. BMI was examined as a continuous variable. The primary outcome of nephrostomy tube dislodgment was determined based on imaging obtained at the time of PCNL and postoperative hospitalization. Logistic regression analysis was then used to adjust for nephrostomy tube type and BMI.


Overall, 24 (5.5%) total patients experienced nephrostomy tube dislodgment postoperatively. The mean BMI for patients experiencing nephrostomy tube dislodgment was 39.7 vs 30.9 for those without tube dislodgment (P<0.0001; 95% confidence interval [CI] 4.6 to 12.9). Using logistic regression and adjusting for the use tube type, BMI was an independent predictor of tube dislodgement (P<0.001). For each unit of increase in BMI, the likelihood of tube dislodgment increased by 6% (1.06). After adjusting for BMI, however, nephrostomy tube type was not found to be an independent predictor of nephrostomy tube dislodgment.


Nephrostomy tube type did not influence nephrostomy tube dislodgment rates. As a patient's BMI increased, the likelihood of tube dislodgment increased in a directly proportionate fashion. This is possibly because of the nephrostomy tube being fixed directly to the mobile skin associated with their fat pannus. Although the nephrostomy tube type itself did not affect tube dislodgment rates, a redesigned nephrostomy tube or fixation device should take into account the above findings related to obese patients to reduce the likelihood of nephrostomy tube dislodgment.

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