Initial Experience with Narcotic-Free Ureteroscopy: A Feasibility Analysis

Tim Large*, Joshua Heiman, Ashley Ross, Blake Anderson, Amy Krambeck

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


Background and Purpose: In the United States, there is an opioid abuse epidemic fueled by prescription medications. Concerns that uncontrolled pain after surgical procedures will result in poor patient satisfaction and increased workload for ancillary staff are potential factors that influence provider prescription habits. Currently, there is a paucity of literature on analgesic requirements after ureteroscopy (URS) for nephrolithiasis. Our study objective was to evaluate the safety of narcotic-free ureteroscopy (nf-URS) and assess its impact on provider workload. Methods: We performed a retrospective chart review of 104 patients, between October 2017 and May 2018, who underwent URS and who required a stent postprocedure. Starting February 2018, patients without absolute contraindication or allergies to nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs received a prescription for diclofenac instead of hydrocodone or oxycodone. Postoperative phone calls to nurses and residents, emergency room visits, and prescription monitoring reports were evaluated for all patients, and compared between the nf-URS and the standard ureteroscopy (s-URS). Results: There were 52 nf-URS and 52 s-URS procedures. In the postoperative period, 9 (17%) nf-URS and 10 (19%) s-URS patients called with postoperative pain issues. Five (10%) nf-URS vs 9 (17%) s-URS patients obtained narcotics after seeking additional medical care after URS because of inadequate pain control. There were no postoperative complications in our cohort. Compared with s-URS, 6871.5 mg less of morphine equivalent dosage (1375 hydrocodone tablets) was administered to nf-URS patients immediately after surgery. Conclusions: Attempts to reduce the number of narcotic prescriptions are paramount in the fight against narcotic addiction in the United States. Although our initial cohort is small, this feasibility study provides compelling evidence that nf-URS is a safe and effective practice. Furthermore, nf-URS resulted in a dramatic decrease in the number of narcotics circulating in the community.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)907-911
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Endourology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2018


  • narcotics
  • nephrolithiasis
  • opioids
  • surgery
  • ureteroscopy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urology


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