For this procedure the surgeon, often a
urologist, doesn't make any incisions (cuts in the
body). He or she first inserts a thin viewing instrument
(ureteroscope) into the
urethra (the tube that leads from the outside of the
body to the bladder). Then the doctor passes the ureteroscope through the
bladder and the
ureter, to get to where the
kidney stone is located.
Kidney stones are created when certain substances in urine -- including calcium, oxalate, and sometimes uric acid -- crystallize. These minerals and salts form crystals, which can then join together and form a kidney stone.
Kidney stones usually form within the kidney, where urine collects before flowing into the ureter, the tube that leads to the bladder. Small kidney stones are able to pass out of the body in the urine -- and may go completely unnoticed by you. But larger stones can irritate...
The urologist removes the kidney stone with
forceps or by using an instrument with a "basket" that
grabs the stone.
Smaller stones can be removed all in one piece.
Larger stones may need to be broken up before they can be
Several types of instruments are available to break up
stones. But most urologists prefer to use a laser.
The urologist can also use the ureteroscope to reach a kidney stone
that is stuck in the ureter just after it leaves the kidney. He or she may then
try to push the stone back up into the kidney. After the stone is back in the
kidney, the stone may be broken up using lithotripsy.
What To Expect After Treatment
Most people are able to go home
the same day of the procedure. But you may need to stay in the hospital. If you do,
the stay is usually no more than 24 to 48 hours.
For several hours after the procedure you may have a burning feeling when you urinate. This feeling should go away within a day. Drinking a lot of water can help reduce the burning. Your doctor also may recommend you take medicine to numb the burning.
You may have some blood in your urine for 2 or 3 days.
Why It Is Done
Urologists use ureteroscopy to remove stones that are stuck in the
ureter and are closer to the bladder than the kidney
(in the lower third of the ureter). But newer technology is allowing
ureteroscopy to be used even for small stones in or near the kidney.
How Well It Works
Ureteroscopy works for most people.
Complications are more likely when the stone is close to the kidney
(upper third of the ureter) and include: