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Urology Blog

Read our dedicated Urology Blog written by professional health experts to know facts and myths about urologic diseases


Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

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When a person discovers that they have kidney stones, they often experience a wealth of unpleasant symptoms. Passing a kidney stone is extremely painful, and in some cases it is not possible for the patient to pass the stone on their own.

Using urodynamic testing, urologists can determine if a stone can be passed or if other measures have to be taken in order to remove the stone. For many Inland Empire patients, percutaneous nephrolithotomy is the best way to have kidney stones removed.

What is Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy?

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy is a surgical procedure in which a urologist makes an incision in the patient’s back in order to remove the kidney stone. Once the incision is made, a small tube is inserted into the area where the stone is located. A probe is placed through the tube and is used to break up the stone into smaller pieces. Once the stone has been broken up, the pieces are pulled through the tube and removed from the patient’s body. This procedure is performed under general anesthesia and requires that patients stay in the hospital for 2-3 days after the operation. Most patients are able to return to work within 7 days.

What Types of Kidney Stones Can Be Removed Using This Method?

This procedure is best used on specific types of kidney stones. In general, the renal stones should be at least two centimeters in diameter or larger, caused by an infection, blocking the flow of urine for the patient and unresponsive to traditional shockwave therapy measures that can be used in order to break up kidney stones.

How Successful is this Procedure?

This surgical operation is considered very successful in most cases. When it is used in order to remove kidney stones from the kidney, it is successful about 95 percent of the time. When it is used in order to remove kidney stones from the ureter, it is successful about 88 percent of the time.

What are the Risks of the Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy?

As this is a surgical operation, there are risks that should be considered by the patient. Risks associated with this procedure include blood loss, kidney perforations, injury to other organs or renal system damage.

Your doctor will discuss your personal risk factors with you during the consultation appointment, and will help you determine if this is the best choice for you. Note that working with an expert urologist will diminish the risks associated with this procedure significantly as expert urologists have plenty of experience with these types of procedures.

Rancho Mirage patients who are experiencing kidney stones or symptoms of kidney stones should make it a point to contact a urology expert as soon as possible. Only a urologist can properly diagnose the kidney stones and help you determine the best course of action for you. In some cases, you may be able to pass the stone on your own, but in other situations additional measures may be necessary in order to alleviate your pain and allow you to feel comfortable again.

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