Ureteroscopic Kidney Stone Removal
What you should know
Ureteroscopy (u-re-ter-OS-kah-pee) is a procedure done to remove kidney stones. Kidney stones are also called renal calculi. Kidney stones are rock-like pieces that can form anywhere in the urinary system. This includes the kidneys, bladder, ureters and urethra (urine tubes). Your kidneys clean waste from the blood and make urine. The stone may be large or small. You may have more than one stone. Ureteroscopy is used when the stone is in the middle or lower part of the ureter. The ureters are the tubes that go from your kidney to your bladder where urine is stored, before it is passed out of your body. Ask caregivers for more information about kidney stones and ways to treat them.
You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
There are risks with kidney stone removal. You may bleed more than usual or get an infection. You could have trouble breathing or get blood clots. You may need surgery or another procedure if the stone was not broken small enough to pass in your urine. Kidney stones can cause a kidney infection and can stop urine from moving out of your kidney. If a kidney stone causes these problems and you do not get it fixed, your kidneys could stop working. This could cause you to die. Your ureter could be torn or damaged during this procedure. Your ureter may grow scar tissue after the procedure and block the flow of urine.
Before your procedure:
- Ask your caregiver if you should stop using aspirin or any other over-the-counter medicine before your ureteroscopy.
- Bring a list of your medicines or your medicine bottles when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you take any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicines. Tell your caregiver if you have allergies.
- Tell your caregiver if you know or think you are pregnant.
- You may need to have an electrocardiogram (EKG), blood and urine tests. Ask your caregiver for more information about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your procedure:
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
- If you have diabetes, ask your caregiver for special instructions about what you may eat and drink before your procedure. If you use medicine to treat diabetes, your caregiver may have special instructions about using it before the procedure. You may need to check your blood sugar more often before and after having your procedure.
The day of your procedure:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.
- Ask your caregiver before taking any medicine on the day of surgery. These medicines include insulin, diabetic pills, blood pressure pills, and heart pills. Bring a list of your medicines or the pill bottles with you to the hospital.
- Do not wear contact lenses on the day of the procedure. You may wear glasses.
- An anesthesiologist may talk to you before your procedure. This caregiver may give you medicine to make you sleepy during the procedure.
- You or a close family member may be asked to sign a legal piece of paper (consent form). It gives your caregiver permission to do ureteroscopic kidney stone removal. It also explains the problems that may happen with your procedure, and your choices. Be sure all your questions have been answered before you sign this form.
- Ask a family member or friend to drive you home when you leave the hospital. Do not drive yourself home.
What will happen:
- You may be given medicine in your IV to help you relax or make you drowsy. You will be taken on a cart to the procedure room. You will get medicine called general anesthesia to keep you completely asleep. You will lie on your back with a sheet covering you during the procedure. Caregivers help you bend your knees and put your feet and legs into stirrups or leg holders. Your groin and urethra (tube that drains urine from the bladder) are cleaned with soap. The soap may make your skin yellow, but will be cleaned off later.
- A ureteroscope is put through your urethra and bladder into your ureter. The ureteroscope is a long thin tube with a light and magnifying glass on the end. Your doctor will put instruments like tiny forceps through the ureteroscope to grab small stones. Larger ones are shattered (broken into tiny sand-like pieces) using a machine such as a drill, ultrasound, or laser. These tiny pieces of stone will be passed in your urine in the next few days.
After the procedure:
You will be taken to a recovery room. You will be there until you wake up. You will then be taken back to your room or will be allowed to go home with a friend or family member. Do not get out of bed until your caregiver says it is OK.
This is an area where your family and friends can wait until you are able to have visitors. Ask your visitors to provide a way to reach them if they leave the waiting area.
Contact a caregiver if
- You have questions or concerns about your condition, procedure, medicine or care.
- You have a fever.
- The problems from your kidney stone get worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.