Kidney stones are a worldwide health issue that impacts millions of people. This condition occurs when small, hard deposits form in the kidneys and cause excruciating pain, nausea and vomiting. Fortunately, kidney stones can be effectively treated with ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy–a minimally invasive procedure using a small camera and laser to break up the stones. This article will outline all of the details related to this treatment option for kidney stones.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones are small, hard mineral deposits formed in the kidneys. These deposits consist of substances such as calcium, oxalate and uric acid and can range in size from a grain of sand to a golf ball – though any size would cause severe pain when passed through the urinary tract.
Symptoms of Kidney Stones
The symptoms associated with kidney stones depend on the size and location. Some common signs to watch out for include:
If you experience any of these symptoms (sharp pain in the back, side or lower abdomen), nausea and vomiting, painful urination, blood in the urine or difficulty passing urine), it’s time to speak to your doctor right away.
What is Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy?
Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat kidney stones that cannot pass on their own or are too large for normal passage through the urinary tract. It involves inserting a camera called a ureteroscope through the urethra and bladder into the ureter (tube connecting bladder to kidney). Once in place, laser energy breaks up large kidney stones into smaller fragments so they can easily pass through your urinary tract.
Preparing for the Procedure
What Should You Do in Advance?
Before the ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy procedure, the patient must undergo several tests to identify the size and location of their kidney stones. These may include a CT scan, ultrasound, or x-rays. They may need to fast for several hours prior to the procedure as well as be given a sedative or anesthesia in order to relax during it.
During the procedure, patients lie on their back with their legs raised and supported. A ureteroscope is then inserted through their urethra and bladder into their ureter. A camera on its end allows surgeons to visualize kidney stone fragments as well as surrounding tissue. Once located, a laser will be used to break up the stone into smaller pieces using high-energy laser beams that have been proven effective at breaking apart even tough kidney stones.
Once the stone is broken up, a surgeon can either manually extract small fragments with a ureteroscope or allow them to pass naturally through the urinary tract. On average, this procedure takes 30-60 minutes depending on the size and location of the stone.
After the Procedure
Following ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy, patients may need to stay in the hospital for several hours in order to monitor for any complications. They may experience some discomfort such as pain or burning during urination for a few days following the procedure; your surgeon can prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to help manage these symptoms.
Potential Risks and Complications
Potential hazards and complications should always be considered.
As with any medical procedure, ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy carries some risks and potential complications. These may include:
3)- Damage to the ureter or other organs
4)- Failure to remove foreign objects
5)- Absence of pain relief
6)- Retention of Stone Fragments
7)- In some instances, small stone fragments may not be completely removed during the procedure, potentially leading to new stone formation.
8)- Urinary tract infection: The procedure may increase the likelihood of urinary tract infections, which may require antibiotic treatment.
9)- Stricture: In rare cases, surgery may lead to narrowing in the ureter and make passing urine difficult.
It is essential to be aware that the risks and complications associated with ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy are relatively low, and most patients report no serious side effects.
Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy: What Are The Benefits?
Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy offers several advantages over traditional surgical methods for treating kidney stones, including:
Minimally Invasive: Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy has a minimally invasive design, meaning there’s less tissue damage and faster recovery time.
High Success Rate: Ureteroscopy combined with laser lithotripsy has an impressive success rate in eliminating kidney stones, thus decreasing the likelihood of future stone formation.
No incisions: This procedure doesn’t need any incisions, which reduces the risk of scarring and infection.
Safe for patients with bleeding disorders: As there is less bleeding than with traditional surgical methods, this makes the procedure safe for those with bleeding disorders.
Who Is a Candidate for Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy?
Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy is a safe and effective treatment option for most patients with kidney stones. However, not all patients may be suitable candidates; those pregnant, having an active urinary tract infection, or having an obstruction that prevents the ureteroscope from reaching the kidney may not be eligible candidates for the procedure.
Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy is a minimally invasive procedure that provides patients with kidney stones an effective, safe treatment option. This procedure uses a small camera and laser to break up kidney stones into smaller fragments, making them easier to pass through the urinary tract. While there may be risks and potential complications during the procedure, they are usually minimal and most patients experience no serious side effects. Overall, ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy offers a high success rate and faster recovery time than traditional surgical methods for kidney stones patients. If you are experiencing symptoms related to kidney stones, speak to your doctor to determine if ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy is suitable for you.