Common Procedures to Remove Kidney Stones

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Most, if not all diseases need early and prompt treatment—this is most true especially when we speak of kidney stones. When kidney stones hit a person’s health, one must immediately find ways and seek medical attention in order to have these stones diluted, reduced in size and possibly passed out as part of our urine. However, when kidney stones goes on undetected and unmanaged, these stones may grow large making them hard to dilute and excrete along with the urine.

When such cases happen, surgeries and invasive procedures are the next level of treatments that your physician may recommend. To be knowledgeable about the common procedures which are done to evacuate kidney stones, here is a short rundown:

ESWL/ Extra-corporeal Shock-Wave Lithotripsy

This method involves the person dipping his or her lower body in a tub and a wave of high energy shockwave is sent through the water in order to prevent damage of neighboring organs. ESWL is said to reduce the size of kidney stones in powdery forms small enough to be passed into the urine.

The success rate of this ESWL procedure highly depends on the number of stones in the kidneys and the sizes, too. If kidney stones have reached a considerably large size, ESWL may not be the way to go.

Laser Lithotripsy

This form of kidney stone removal provides more accurate target than that of ESWL. In laser lithotripsy, catheter with a laser emitting tip is inserted into the patient’s urethra up to the ureter where the laser will be focused. Since laser is a focused wave of energy, damage to neighboring organs is less likely to happen; however, this one is minimally invasive compared to ESWL which is definitely non-invasive.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

Percutaneous refers to a procedure which is done “via the skin”. As such, the surgeon will need radiographic materials determining the accurate location of kidney stones. Ultrasound, MRI or CT scan films can determine this information. Once located correctly, the surgeon will bore holes on the skin of the patient and insert a nephroscope which will facilitate in the removal of the stone.

Uteroscopic Kidney Stone Removal

This involves the insertion of an instrument from the urethra, bladder, all the way to the ureter and the kidney. This catheter has a fiber optic tip allowing surgeons to visualize the tract and identify whether the stone has been focused. This instrument has a cage like tip which will crush the stone rendering it small enough to be passed into the urine. For several days, stent is left inside the ureteral walls to promote the healing of the irritated areas of the upper urinary tract.

Not all kidney stones need to be removed. However, removal of kidney stones is necessary especially when it impedes with one’s urination, if the stone has grown large enough and if a urinary tract infection has been caused by it. To make sure you prevent the development of such stones, engage in a low salt and a high fluid intake diet. These types of diet will surely lessen your chances of getting a kidney stone growing inside you.




  1. [...] Kidney stones can be attributed to our food and fluid intake, medications that we take, infections and inflammatory disorders, etc. The size of kidney stones may also vary from a stone as tiny as a grain of rice to a stone as huge as a ping-pong ball. Before these kidney stones become too large for you to feel the symptoms, make sure you consult your physician once you feel any of these untoward signs. Depending on the type and size of your stones, there are some common procedures of getting rid of them! [...]

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