146 patients whose ureteral stones did not pass spontaneously participated in a prospective study on optimal management. Patients were offered two treatment options: extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) and ureteroscopy (URS). The stone was treated with the technique preferred by the patient. In case of treatment failure after first-line therapy, patients again could decide on how to proceed. Stone analysis could be obtained from 72.6% patients. ESWL was the primary treatment in 66.4% patients. In 2 patients, ESWL was the secondary treatment after failed URS. URS was the first-line therapy in 33.6% patients. In 29 patients URS was done after failed ESWL. For analgesia, sedoanalgesia or spinal anesthesia were used. Analgesia was required in 74.2% ESWL and 100% URS sessions. Following ESWL, 70.1% patients became stone free. In 29.9% ESWL failed. Distal stones had a higher failure rate than proximal or mid-ureteral calculi. Distal stones treated without success were significantly larger than those treated successfully. Failures were switched to URS. Stone analysis could be obtained in 26 patients with failed ESWL: 23/26 consisted of pure whewellite or mixed whewellite stones. Clinically relevant complications were not observed. After URS, 94.9% of the patients became stone free. In distal stones, the stone-free rate was 97.5%. There was only 1 relevant complication: a proximal ureteral lesion requiring surgical repair. Our study demonstrates that URS is a safe and highly effective treatment option for ureteral stones. In patients with distal ureteral stones, it should be offered as a first-line treatment. When whewellite is expected as the stone mineral, URS is the treatment of choice.

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