Urinary Stone Disease

Patient information – Urinary tract stone surgery

Urinary tract stone disease is a common problem in Australia. They tend to occur more commonly in the warmer months of the year. Stones form in the kidneys and can cause symptoms if they block the urinary tract and obstruct the flow of urine.

Most stones which are less than 5 mm in size have a good chance of passing without surgical intervention. If however the stones are larger, or if they are causing persistent symptoms, including pain, or if there are complicating factors (infection or kidney failure), surgical intervention may be necessary.

The most common type of stone is Calcium Oxalate. Less common types are Uric acid stones and Cysteine stones.
Uric acid stones may be suitable for medical treatment with tablets and life style changes, with a view to dissolving them. Calcium Oxalate stones almost always require surgical intervention.

Most stones in the urinary tract can be treated by “minimally invasive” means with a telescope and laser energy to break up the stone. Usually the surgery will be carried out in two stages but often it can be done as a single stage procedure.

Very large stones in the kidney may require a more invasive procedure to clear the stones.
If surgery is indicated, the surgical approach, number of stages, length of stay and possible side effects of surgery will be discussed in detail at the time of the consultation.

Patient information: Flexible Ureteropyeloscopy and laser treatment of stones in the urinary tract.

  1. This procedure is used in the treatment of stones in the kidney and ureter. Your Urologist will decide if you are suitable for this treatment.
  2. It is minimally invasive. It is carried out by passing a bendable telescope through the urethra or “ Water passage” and into the ureter and kidney. Laser energy is then used to break the stone into minute fragments which can be passed easily.
  3. It is carried out under a General anaesthetic but most patients are able to go home the same day.
  4. You will be required to fast for 6 hours prior to the procedure.
  5. Sometimes it may be difficult to pass the scope up the ureter due to its narrow size. It is then safer to leave a narrow tube called a stent in the ureter internally for 2-4 weeks and then bring you back for the procedure at a later time.
  6. The Urologist will often leave a stent in the ureter with strings attached, for a week, after the procedure and remove it in the office. This is easily done with minimal discomfort.
  7. It is important your urine is free of infection prior to the procedure. Sometimes your Urologist may prescribe antibiotics prior to the procedure to reduce the risk of an infection.
  8. This procedure is very safe and most patients will have an uneventful recovery. It is not unusual to pass blood stained urine and have some pain in the side of the abdomen and frequency and urgency passing urine.
  9. There are however some complications that can occur very rarely. They are urinary infections spreading to the blood stream and causing Sepsis, injury to the ureter from passing the instruments, pain bad enough for you to require strong pain killers and residual stone fragments which may require another laser procedure at a later time.
  10. If you have any concerns you may contact your Urologist’s office or go to the Emergency department of the nearest hospital.