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How Do Surgeons Remove Kidney Stones?

Kidney stone brings intense pain similar to the ache of childbirth and knife stab. Because of this, this disease inflicts one of the fiercest torment known to man.

The kidneys filter out waste products, toxins chemicals from the blood and body fluids. This pair of organs also maintain the body’s electrolyte balance and blood pressure. Ultimately, our urine brings out the waste expelled by the kidneys.

But if a person produces waste but drinks too little, chemicals can crystallize in the kidneys. These form stones that get larger over time until they can no longer pass through the urinary tract.

As these damage the kidneys, patients will experience severe pain. They will also vomit, have a fever, and feel nausea. Those with kidney stones also struggle to pee, and their urine can have a stinky smell and traces of blood.

Fortunately, surgeons know how to treat this disease. In this article, you will learn the different surgeries performed to remove kidney stones.

Shock Wave Lithotripsy

During shock wave lithotripsy, the surgeons will strike the kidney stones with ultrasound waves. These beams of energy can make these crumble so that they can pass through the urinary tract.

Shock wave lithotripsy is most effective against stones between four millimetres and two centimetres in diameter. Another factor is the location: the closer the kidney stones are to the ureter, the better.

However, this treatment does not apply to pregnant women. Patients with kidney infections, cancer, and abnormalities cannot undergo this treatment as well.

In this procedure, the patient will lie down with a lithotripter, a machine that emits X-rays and ultrasound. Within thirty minutes to an hour, the surgeons will focus the shock waves on the area where the kidney stones lodge.

Patients will sleep under general anesthesia during the treatment. They can go home if they pass the observation afterwards. Side effects include mild discomfort as stone fragments come out with urine.

Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy

Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy involves inserting a small tube with a camera into the urinary opening up until the ureter. This treatment is applicable for smaller kidney stones hidden on X-rays.

Once the surgeon sees the kidney stones, the tube will shoot them with a laser. These will crack into fragments and dust expelled with urine.

To completely drain the kidney, surgeons may also put a plastic stent in the affected area. This tiny tube reduces discomfort and prevents inflammation there. The patient will return to the surgeon after one to two weeks to have this removed.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy

If the kidney stones are large, numerous, and complex, percutaneous nephrolithotomy or PCNL is the best treatment option. Unlike the other two alternatives, PCNL requires a small incision on the patient’s back.

The surgeon will break the kidney stones apart with dedicated tools. Then, he will take out the fragments manually. A stent can temporarily drain the kidneys, stop any bleeding, and ensure the patient’s steady recovery after the operation.

But if the stones are already too severe, the patient might go through a second surgery. In this procedure, the surgeon will clean up other stone fragments remaining.

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