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Stone Surgery – Ureteroscopy and JJ Stent

In order to gain access to a stone that is causing trouble you doctor may suggest a ureteroscopy, this is the insertion of a small telescope up the urethra, through the bladder and into the ureter (the pipe that runs up to the kidney). This allows the surgeon to directly see the stone, the only way to do this before the invention of the ureteroscope was by open surgery i.e. a big cut. Once the stone is just infront of the telescope a number of things can be done to treat it. Most commonly we use a laser (Holmium YAG for the technically minded) to break the stone into smaller fragments. Although ureteroscopy is a safe treatment, on occasion damage can be caused to the ureter, either small holes (which usually heal by themselves) or in very rare cases the ureter may be pulled off the kidney or bladder. In order to repair this open surgery would be necessary. As you can see by using a ureteroscope the vast majority of people will avoid what used to be a common operation, the open removal of a stone.

If you have had a telescopic removal of a stone from your water pipe it is possible that you have a plastic tube (stent) left behind to allow healing. Your doctor will have told you if this was the case. These little tubes are renowned for causing three side effects. First, every time you pass urine you will feel an ache in your kidney, this is a small quantity of urine passing in the wrong direction up to the kidney. Second, at the end of passing you water it is common to have an ache in the lower part of the abdomen. Third, you will feel the urge to pass urine more often, sometimes you may have the urge and find that you have nothing to pass. This is caused by the stent irritating the bladder.

For more information on stone surgery please look at the stone section of the site

Finally it is important that the stent is removed. This must be done before six months. If you think you have been forgotten you must get in touch with your doctor.

Click here to view a short video of a stone removal procedure using a telescope and laser.




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