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Ureteroscopy

Ureteroscopy is an examination of the urinary tract with a small camera to aid in the removal of kidney stones.

Overview

Ureteroscopy is an examination of the urinary tract with a small camera to aid in the removal of kidney stones.

Ureteroscopy is sometimes recommended for the treatment of kidney stones. The procedure involves the insertion of a ureteroscope into the urinary tract. This thin, telescopic instrument allows the urologist to see and remove the stone(s).

Physicians recommend ureteroscopy when stones are stuck in the ureter and sometimes when stones are in the kidney.

How it Works

A ureteroscopy is typically an outpatient procedure requiring general anesthesia. The surgeon does not make any incisions, but rather inserts the ureteroscope into the ureter through the urethra and bladder, to find where the kidney stone is located. Smaller stones can be removed all in one piece. Larger stones may need to be broken up before they are removed. Several types of instruments are available to break up stones, but most surgeons prefer to use a laser.

The surgeon may also use the ureteroscope to push a kidney stone that is stuck in the ureter back into the kidney. Once it is back in the kidney, the stone may be broken up using lithotripsy.

What to Expect

Ureteroscopy has a more than 95 percent success rate. Most people are able to go home the same day of the procedure. Some patients are required to stay in the hospital, but the typical stay is no more than one to two days.

For several hours after the procedure you may experience a burning feeling when you urinate. This feeling should go away within a day. Drinking a lot of water can help reduce the burning. Your doctor may also recommend you take medicine to numb the burning. There may be blood in your urine for two to three days following the procedure. Often, a stent will be placed in the ureter for several days to allow the ureter to heal. A stent, a plastic tube that lets the kidney drain properly during recovery, may result in the frequent urge to urinate and may cause blood in the urine.

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