About Kidney Stone Removal
Certain medications have been shown to improve the chance that a stone will pass. The most common medication prescribed for this reason is tamsulosin. You may also need pain and anti-nausea medicine as you wait to pass the stone.
Extra corporeal Shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL) is used to treat stones in the kidney and ureter. Shock waves are focused on the stone using X-rays or ultrasound to pinpoint the stone. Repeated firing of shock waves on the stone usually causes the stone to break into small pieces. These smaller pieces of stones pass out in the urine over a few weeks with SWL, you may go home the same day as the procedure. You may be able to resume normal activities in two to three days.
Ureteroscopy (URS) is used to treat stones in the kidney and ureter. URS involves passing a very small telescope, called an ureteroscope, into the bladder, up the ureter and into the kidney. Rigid telescopes are used for stones in the lower part of the ureter near the bladder. Flexible telescopes are used to treat stones in the upper ureter and kidney. The ureteroscope lets the urologist see the stone without making an incision (cuts). General anesthesia keeps you comfortable during the URS procedure. Once the urologist sees the stone with the ureteroscope, a small, basket-like device grabs smaller stones and removes them. If a stone is too large to remove in one piece, it can be broken into smaller pieces with a laser or other stone-breaking tools.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
Percutaneous Lithotripsy (PCNL) is the best treatment for large stones in the kidney. General anesthesia is needed to do a PCNL. PCNL involves making a 1-2cm incision (cut) in the back or side, just large enough to allow a rigid telescope (nephroscope) to be passed into the hollow center part of the kidney where the stone is located.
Other kidney surgery is rarely used to remove stones. Open, laparoscopic or robotic surgery may be used only if all other less invasive procedures fail.