Large kidney stones or ones that cause serious symptoms may require more extensive treatment
When we see a patient at Urology Austin who has large kidney stones (5 mm or larger) or one that is causing serious symptoms, we may decide that surgical treatment is the best option. Some of the reasons we may opt for surgical treatment include:
- A stone that won’t pass on its own
- Severe pain that makes it difficult to wait for the stone to pass on its own
- Having an infection
- Having a stone that is blocking the flow of urine from the kidney
Your Austin urologist will work with you to devise the best individualized treatment plan.
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is an outpatient procedure that requires either light sedation or anesthesia and usually lasts between 45 minutes and an hour. A lithotripsy uses shock waves that work to break up the kidney stone into much smaller pieces that will pass more easily through your urinary tract.
This is usually an outpatient procedure, performed under anesthesia, although occasionally some patients may need to spend the night in the hospital. Your Urology Austin physician will perform this procedure by inserting an ureteroscope into your urethra. The ureteroscope is a thin, lighted tube-like instrument that has an eyepiece that allows your urologist to see the kidney stone. Once he sees it, he can either retrieve it or break it up into much smaller pieces using laser energy.
Sometimes, your Urology Austin physician may decide to place a stent in your ureter, the thin tube that allows urine to flow from your kidney to your bladder. If this is the case, you will need to come into our Urology Austin office to have the stent removed in approximately 4 to 10 days.
If you have a large kidney stone, your Urology Austin physician may choose to do a percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). During this procedure, which may be outpatient, but typically requires an overnight hospital stay, you will receive general anesthesia.
To perform PCNL, your urologist uses a nephroscope, a thin, telescopic instrument that is inserted through a small incision in your back or side, to locate the kidney stone. Once it has been located, your Urology Austin physician will use another instrument to break up and suction out the pieces of the kidney stone.
When your PCNL procedure is complete, your urologist will leave a nephrostomy tube in your kidney so that urine and any leftover fragments from the kidney stone will exit into the bag. Using the tube also helps stop any bleeding. The next day or even a few days after the surgery, your nephrostomy tube will be removed.
About one to two weeks after a PCNL procedure, you will be able to return to your normal daily routine.
You can count on the experience, expertise and training of your Urology Austin physicians when you need surgical treatment for a kidney stone. Contact us for an appointment.