Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy or Nephrolithotripsy for Kidney Stones
In percutaneous nephrolithotomy or
nephrolithotripsy, the surgeon makes a small incision in your back to remove
kidney stones. He or she then puts a hollow tube into
your kidney and a probe through the tube. In nephrolithotomy, the surgeon
removes the stone through the tube. In nephrolithotripsy, he or she breaks the
stone up and then removes the fragments of the stone through the tube.
See a picture of
You need either
general anesthesia or
regional or spinal anesthesia during this procedure. A
small tube (catheter) may be inserted into the kidney to drain urine until the
What To Expect After Treatment
You will be in the hospital for at
least 2 to 3 days. Most people are able to return to work within a few
Why It Is Done
This procedure may be used to treat
kidney stones that are:
- Larger than
2 cm (0.8 in.) in
- Large and caused by an infection (staghorn calculi).
- Blocking the flow of urine out of the
- Not broken up by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy
How Well It Works
These procedures work for most people with stones in the kidney or ureter.
Risks of this procedure include:
- Holes (perforation) in
the kidney. They usually heal without further treatment.
- Injury to
other abdominal organs, such as the
- Damage that affects normal kidney
What To Think About
A stone that has left the kidney may need to be pushed
back into the kidney with a small tool (ureteroscope) before the surgeon can do
These procedures are used more frequently than
extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) to remove larger stones, such as
staghorn calculi. Every fragment of a staghorn calculus must be removed to
prevent the stone from returning.
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Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerTushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Current as ofNovember 20, 2015