Fellowship training in endourology: Impact on percutaneous nephrolithotomy access patterns
Keywords:Education, Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy, Renal Access, Practice Trends
Introduction: Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) remains the treatment of choice for kidney stones larger than 2 cm. Few studies have examined the reasons why some urologists obtain their own PCNL access while others prefer to have interventional radiology (IR) obtain access. The objective of this study was to investigate what factors influence this decision.
Methods: A survey was posted to the American Urological Association’s (AUA) Young Urologist Community. Descriptive statistics and exploratory analyses were used to summarize practice trends and motivating factors.
Results: All 99 respondents began practicing within the past 11 years. Ninety-two currently perform PCNLs and 47% of them obtain their own access. Endourology fellowship-trained physicians were more likely to currently obtain their own access (75%) compared to urologists who completed non-endourology fellowships (75% vs. 23%, p=0.58) and non-fellowship-trained urologists (75% vs. 45%, p=0.01). Logging >50 cases during training also predicted physicians obtaining their own access and having a larger annual number of PCNL cases. The most common motivator for obtaining one’s own access was preference to control their own access point (95%).
Conclusions: Urologist-obtained PCNL access was associated with greater training experience (endourology fellowship) and current annual PCNL case volume. Urologist-reported factors that influenced the decision to obtain one’s own access include control of access, comfort level, and both physician and patient convenience. By identifying the factors that influence practice patterns, we may better address barriers, improve education to make urologist-obtained PCNL access feasible even without fellowship training, and ultimately improve outcomes and quality of care.
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