Surgery for your kidney stones might be necessary if the stone:

  • Causes too much pain
  • Becomes too large to pass spontaneously
  • Blocks urine flow
  • Causes tissue damage
  • Results in some type of urinary tract infection

One procedure, called ureteroscopy, allows for treatment of stones in the kidney and the ureter.

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What to expect

  1. A small telescope, called an ureteroscope (flexible or rigid) is inserted through the urethra (without an incision) into the bladder, ureter and kidney.
  2. The stone is then removed via a cage-like instrument (stone basket) or shattered with a holmium laser. A stent is typically left in the ureter to allow for healing.
  3. The procedure is done under general anesthesia on an outpatient basis and the stent is removed in the office within 1-2 weeks under cystoscopic guidance using a local anesthetic.
  4. The procedure has the benefit of low morbidity, early recovery and precise fragmentation of the stone under direct vision without any harm to surrounding kidney.
  5. Unlike ESWL and PCNL, ureteroscopy can be performed in patients on blood thinners. Large stones (>2cm) may be treated as well; however, it may require more than one trip to the operating room.

Other kidney stone surgical treatment options include a percutaneous nephrolithotomy or extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL)