What happens during a ureteroscopic kidney stone removal?

UCLA Health
Once doctors have located a kidney or ureteral stone with the scope, they have a variety of tools they can pass through the scope. They can either grab the kidney stone with baskets and remove it, or for larger stones break it with a laser or other energy source.
For laser lithotripsy, doctors thread a tiny fiber optic laser through the scope and then apply energy through the laser. It’s very tiny and minimally invasive.

Once the stone is broken, doctors may choose to remove all the fragments. The tiny wire baskets come in all shapes and sizes for all variety of stones.
Ureteroscopy procedure works well for small ureteral and kidney stones. It is an outpatient procedure that lasts about an hour.
Ureteroscopy involves going up through your bladder and ureter to find and remove the kidney stone. This is what you can expect during the procedure:
  1. General anesthesia. You'll have medication so you sleep through the surgery and have no sensation or memory of it.
  2. Inserting a scope and finding the stone. Your doctor will insert a tiny tube with a camera called a ureteroscope into your urethra, up through your bladder, and then up the ureter to find the stone.
  3. Removing the stone. Some stones can be taken out using a tiny snare or "basket" passed through the scope. Other stones will need to be broken up, using a special stone laser attached to the scope, before they can be removed using the basket.
  4. Inserting a stent. A stent is often placed inside the ureter. The stent is temporary and will need to come out several weeks later.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.