Introduction: Most upper or middle ureteral stones are treated with shock wave lithotripsy or endoscopic techniques. In rare cases the ureteral stones are treated with open surgery after failure of first-line treatments. Retroperitoneoscopy is a minimally invasive alternative to open surgery. Patients and Methods: Between May 1995 and January 2001, twenty-one patients underwent retroperitoneoscopic ureterolithotomy. The stones in upper and middle ureter were large and impacted (5 patients) or not fragmented after shock wave lithotripsy (16 patients). A balloon dissector was placed and infiltrated with 800 ml air in the retroperitoneal space. Three 10-mm trocars were used. The pressure was kept at 15 mm Hg by carbon dioxide insufflation. The stones were extracted from the ureter using a laparoscopic stylet. Results: The stones in 17 patients were successfully removed in a median operating time of 105 (min-max 45-190) min. Urine extravasation in all cases and pnomoscrotum in 2 cases were observed as postoperative complications. The median hospital stay was 6 ( min max 3-22) days with minimal analgesic requirement. Conclusion: Retroperitoneoscopic ureterolithotomy is a useful and effective alternative treatment technique to open surgery when first-line treatments have failed or are unlikely to be effective. Copyright (C) 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel.