Single-use disposable digital flexible ureteroscopes: an ex vivo assessment and cost analysis

Derek B. Hennessey, Grzegorz L. Fojecki, Nathan P. Papa, Nathan Lawrentschuk, Damien Bolton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To assess and measure the capability of a single-use disposable digital flexible ureteroscope, the LithoVue™ (Boston Scientific, Marlborough, MA, USA), and to assess if there is a benefit to switching to single-use scopes. Patients and Methods: The LithoVue was compared to two commonly used reusable flexible ureteroscopes (Olympus URF-V [Olympus, Tokyo, Japan] and Karl Storz Flex-Xc [Karl Storz & Co. KG, Tuttlingen, Germany]) ex vivo. An analysis of reusable ureteroscope usage was performed to evaluate damage, durability, and maintenance costs. This was then compared to the projected costs of using single-use disposable scopes. Results: Flexion, deflection and irrigation flow of the LithoVue was equivalent, if not better than the reusable flexible ureteroscopes. An analysis of 234 procedures with seven new Olympus URF-V scopes, revealed 15 scope damages. Staghorn stones and lower pole/mid-zone stones were significant risk factors for damage (P = 0.014). Once damage occurred it was likely to occur again. Total repair costs were $162 628 (Australian dollars) (£92 411 in Great British pounds), the mean cost per case was $695 (£395). Factoring in the purchase cost, cleaning and repair costs, the cumulative cost of 28 reusable flexible ureteroscopy procedures was ~$50 000 (£28 412). If the LithoVue was priced at $1 200 (£682), switching to a single-use scope would cost ~$35 000 (£19 888). Conclusion: The LithoVue is analogous to reusable flexible ureteroscopes in regard to standard technical metrics. Depending on its purchase cost it may also represent a cost saving for hospitals when compared to the cumulative costs of maintaining reusable scopes. Additionally, urologist may consider using the scope in cases in which reusable scope damage is anticipated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-61
Number of pages7
JournalBJU International
Publication statusPublished - May 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • cost analysis
  • disposable flexible ureteroscope
  • flexible ureteroscope
  • LithoVue
  • single use instrument
  • urolithiasis

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