Kidney Stone Surgery

Kidney stone treatments are largely based on the size and location of the kidney stone and each patient is assessed individually to see which option is best. Three varieties of kidney stone are currently used.

Photo Credit: Boston Scientific

1. Shock Wave Lithotripsy – Sometimes just called “lithotripsy,” this is an outpatient procedure which requires general anesthesia. Once asleep, X-rays are used to align the machine with the kidney stone. Next shocks are delivered to the kidney stone causing fragmentation.

Video: Boston Scientific: SWL

2. Ureteroscopy – This procedure also requires general anesthesia. Once asleep small cameras are driven into the urethra, bladder and then ureter (drainage tube of the kidney). When a stone is encountered, it is either basketed and removed or fragmented using a laser. This procedure typically requires a temporary tube in the ureter called a stent.

Video: Boston Scientific – URS

3. Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) – A small incision is made in the back and small cameras are placed from this incision into the kidney and a combination of ultrasonic devices and baskets are used to break and remove the stone. This is reserved for larger kidney stones.

Video: Boston Scientific – PCNL