Surgery is rarely needed to treat kidney stones. Surgery is only needed when the kidney stone is very large, caused by an infection ( staghorn calculi ), blocking the flow of urine out of the kidney or causing other problems like severe bleeding.
- In percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy, the surgeon makes a small cut in your back. He or she then puts a hollow tube into your kidney and either removes (lithotomy) or breaks up and removes (lithotripsy) the stone. This surgery may be used if other procedures do not work or if you have a very large stone.
- In open surgery, the surgeon makes a cut in your side or stomach to reach the kidneys. He or she removes the stone.
If your kidney stones were caused by a problem with your parathyroid gland, your doctor may suggest surgery to remove a parathyroid gland or glands (parathyroidectomy). This can help prevent future kidney stones.
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