What are kidney stones? Kidney stones are hard deposits made from accumulation of minerals like calcium and waste products like uric acid over time.
Small kidney stones usually pass through the urine without undergoing treatment. However, in cases where the kidney stone is bigger, it has to be removed through surgery. There are primarily three types of surgical methods to remove kidney stones from the urinary tract. These are:
If smaller kidney stones are causing problems, the most common kidney stone treatment done to remove smaller and medium-sized kidney stones is Shock Wave lithotripsy. This laser kidney stone treatment does not require any cuts to be made in skin i.e. it follows a non-invasive method which makes it quite popular and preferred.
Small kidney stones are broken into further small pieces by sending shock waves from outside the body targeting the area where the kidney stones are located. If any larger pieces are left, they have to be removed through another treatment.
This is another non-invasive method to remove kidney stones in the kidney and ureters. However, this method is also feasible for small to medium-sized kidney stones only.
In this method, a small telescope known as urethroscope is used and made to pass through the urethra and bladder up to the point where the kidney stone is located. Once it reaches there, the surgery is performed which usually lasts for about one to three hours under general anaesthesia.
A small stone can be easily removed through the procedure. However, if the stone is large, then it is made to break into small pieces using a laser. Once this is done, the stones are then removed.
This surgery is finally made for treating large kidney stones usually bigger than 2 cm in diameter. This is not a non-invasive treatment for kidney stones.
Thus, in this surgery, a small incision is made in the back to enter the kidney. Thereafter, an instrument known as nephroscope and other varied small instruments is made to enter through the hole in the body. The kidney stone is then made to remove with the help of this tube. If it is removed easily without breaking the kidney stones further, it is termed as nephrolithotomy.
On the contrary, when the stones are required to further be fragmented through shock waves, the procedure is termed as nephrolithotripsy.
These were the three kidney stone treatment surgeries apart from the open surgery used for severe cases.