In percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy, the surgeon makes a small incision in your back to remove kidney stones. He or she then puts a hollow tube into your kidney and a probe through the tube. In nephrolithotomy, the surgeon removes the stone through the tube. In nephrolithotripsy, he or she breaks the stone up and then removes the fragments of the stone through the tube.

You need either general anesthesia or regional or spinal anesthesia during this procedure. A small tube (catheter) inserted into the kidney will drain urine until the kidney heals.

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What To Expect After Treatment

You will be in the hospital for at least 2 to 3 days. Most people are able to return to work within a few weeks.

Why It Is Done

This procedure may be used to treat kidney stones that are : –

  • Larger than 2 cm (0.8 in) in diameter.
  • Large and caused by an infection (staghorn calculi).
  • Blocking the flow of urine out of the kidney.
  • Not broken up by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).

How Well It Works

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy successfully removes stones in the kidney about 95 times out of 100 and successfully removes stones in the ureter about 88 times out of 100.1

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Risks of this procedure include : –

  • Bleeding.
  • Holes (perforation) in the kidney. They usually heal without further treatment.
  • Injury to other abdominal organs, such as the bladder or colon.
  • Damage that affects normal kidney function.