6 common kidney stone surgery methods

Ureteroscopy, percutaneous renal lithotripsy, electro-shock lithotripsy or open surgery… are the most common methods of treating kidney stones today.

Kidney stones are a condition in which minerals in the urine are deposited in the kidneys, bladder, ureters, etc., forming solid crystals, causing pain in the kidney and surrounding areas. The most common treatment for kidney stones is surgery to remove the stones. Kidney stone surgery is a method to remove the entire size of the stone or break it into small pieces to dissolve the stone through the skin or easily excreted.

There are different methods of kidney stone surgery. Depending on the condition, size and location of the stone, the doctor will prescribe the following surgical methods:

Shock wave lithotripsy

Shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) is a painless, less direct invasive stone removal method and patients can be discharged home sooner. This method requires the use of high-energy shock waves to break up the kidney stone, breaking it up into small, fine pieces. They will easily pass through the urinary tract and out of the body.

The advantage of this method is that there are few complications, so patients can usually go home the same day or after 1-2 if the surgery is long or complicated. However, with hard or too large stones, it may have to be dispersed 2-3 times to completely disappear.


Ureteroscopy (URS) is used to treat stones that accumulate in the ureters, especially stones near the bladder. Before appointing ureteral lithotripsy by endoscopic method, the doctor will perform examination and imaging measures such as: total urinalysis, X-ray of unprepared urinary tract, ultrasound, etc. CT scan of the urinary system… During surgery, the doctor will use a scope through the urethra and bladder to find the location of the stone. The stone will be removed in its entirety or broken with a laser if it is too large.

Ureteroscopy is an advanced and highly effective treatment for kidney stones. Image: Health Replies

Thanks to the advances in technology and efficiency, endoscopic lithotripsy is becoming more and more popular, replacing most of the traditional open surgery methods. As with the SWL method, the patient can be discharged soon.

However, this method is not applied to patients with blood clotting disorders, men with urethral strictures, severe urinary tract infections, kidney fluid retention…

Percutaneous kidney stone lithotripsy

This is one of the safe surgeries, causing less kidney damage, with a high rate of stone clearance, and less pain in the incision. This technique is the first choice for large stones from 1-2cm. In this method, the doctor inserts the endoscope through a small incision in the back to penetrate and remove the kidney stone. Percutaneous renal lithotripsy (PNL) is usually indicated for patients with large stones (more than 20 mm) or kidney stones associated with urinary tract infections.

In some cases, a urinary tube is inserted through the skin into the kidney during the lithotripsy procedure. Patients undergoing percutaneous nephrectomy require only one to two nights in the hospital.

Endoscopy with flexible tube

One of the other modern techniques is endoscopic lithotripsy using a flexible bronchoscope under the influence of a laser to break the stone. This method helps to preserve kidney function for patients, is indicated for patients with lower calyx kidney stones causing cervical entrapment, subrenal calyces retention, residual or recurrent kidney stones…

Although this method of treating kidney stones brings many advantages and is quite safe for patients, after surgery, patients may have unusual symptoms such as: low back pain spreading to the genital area, urination. blood…

Endoscopy with rigid bronchoscope

Ureteroscopy with rigid bronchoscope is also a high technique to help treat ureteral stones in many different locations, but it is most effective for stones in the middle and lower thirds, with a size > 10mm. The endoscope will be threaded through the mouth of the ureter up to access the stone and use a laser to break up the stone. The stone will then be removed or left to pass out on its own through the urine.

Although highly effective, this method is not applied to patients with untreated urinary tract infections or urinary tract stenosis that cannot be placed on a bronchoscope. After treatment, patients may experience some complications related to the urinary tract.

Open surgery

Since the advent of laparoscopic techniques, open surgery is rarely performed. This method is indicated when minimally invasive laparoscopic measures have failed or for patients with stagnant stones, ureters complicated by obesity.

During open surgery, the stone is removed through a cut in the patient’s abdomen or side. Open surgery usually requires a hospital stay of 6 to 9 nights.

Bao Bao (Follow Very Well Health)


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