Do I need surgery for stone removal?
The surgery for stone removal depends on location, size of stone and damage it is causing to the kidneys. A small stone of size 6mm or less in the urinary tube (Ureter) can be managed medically if it is not causing much swelling. In this case you will not require surgery but you have to be under medical supervision.
Small kidney stones of size 5mm do not require surgery until and unless they come down and get stuck in the tube (ureter). However, larger stones in the ureter causing swelling of the kidney or infection require to be immediately removed by ureteroscopy and Holmium Laser
Additionally, small obstructing stones in the kidney also need to be removed by:
- Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) - crushing the stone from outside or by going to the kidney through ureter with flexible scope
- Rentrograde Intra Renal Surgery (RIRS)- crushing the stones with Holmium Laser
However, ESWL is not considered to be an effective method for Indian patients because the stones formed are hard calcium stones.
How are large Kidney stones removed?
Large kidney stones are removed by making a small hole (approximately 5mm) through the skin. This method is called as Per Cutaneous Nephro Lithotripsy (PCNL). Nowadays, it is extremely rare to do open surgery for kidney stones.
Will I get kidney stones again?
There is a high probability that one gets the stone again in his life time. Almost 40% patients can develop a second stone in their lifetime. Therefore, it is essential for patients to undergo regular follow ups with the best urologist to evaluate if they require surgical or medical therapy for stone treatment.
Can I do something to prevent reformation of stones?
In order to reduce the recurrence rate of stone formation, patients require certain blood and urine tests along with stone analysis. Those patients who are identified to have certain metabolic defects can be treated medically to reduce the reformation of stones. Otherwise, rest of the patients are advised to modify diet and increase water intake.
Will the presence of stones damage my kidneys?
Stones whether in the kidney or ureter can cause swelling and may eventually damage the kidney function. They are also responsible for causing recurrent infection in urinary tract that can further damage the renal function. Therefore, even asymptomatic stones should be kept in surveillance.