Objective To evaluate the use of percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNL) and technical approach in the super obese population (body mass index [BMI] ≥ 50). Materials and Methods We performed a retrospective review of 31 consecutive PNL cases with a BMI > 50 from a single surgeon (SYN) from 1995 to 2013. Procedures were performed in the prone position, and upper pole access was used. Operative time, length of hospital stay, stone burden, complication rates, and stone-free rates were measured. Results Of the 31 patients who underwent PNL (age 51.2 ± 12; 71% female), the mean BMI was 59.1 ± 6 kg/m2 (range 50.4-71.7 kg/m2). Mean stone burden was 3.8 cm ± 2. The majority of patients (90.3%) had an upper pole puncture site for access with an operative time of 122.1 ± 75 minutes. The technique was similar to non-obese patients; however, there was a need for extra-long instrumentation. The overall stone-free rate was 71%, with utilization of a second-look PNL in 11 cases. The complication rate, Clavien grade 3 or higher, was 9.7% (3 of 31). Conclusion PNL is technically feasible, safe, and effective in patients with a BMI ≥ 50. The complication rate, length of hospital stay, and stone-free rate with use of second-look PNL in super obese patients are comparable to severely obese patients. Intervention should not be automatically ruled out or delayed based on the patient's BMI alone.
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