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What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones are hard deposits that are made up of minerals like calcium or uric acid. While they start off small, they can grow larger as more minerals are deposited. Some kidney stones are relatively small and you can easily pass them without treatment. However, some stones are larger and they become stuck within the urinary tract. These stones need to be removed with surgery.
You may have to undergo a procedure to remove your stone if you have the following:
- A large stone over 5 mm
- Intractable pain
- The stone is causing blockage for a prolonged period
- You develop a urinary tract infection with fever – this is an emergency
Kidney Stone Removal Options
There are 3 basic procedures to remove kidney stones:
Ureteroscopy and Laser Lithotripsy
For stones less than 20 mm in size, the best treatment is ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy. This procedure is performed at the hospital on an outpatient basis. You will most likely return home immediately after your procedure.
During the procedure, you will receive general or spinal anesthesia from a board – certified anesthesiologist. Dr. Lazare then inserts a small fiber-optic telescope into the ureter. He visualizes the stone and disintegrates it with a small laser fiber. The tiny fragments can then be removed with a basket. The risks are low and the success rate is about 85% -90 %.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, or ESWL, is the least invasive means of treating stones in the kidney or in the upper ureter. It is appropriate for stones less than 20 mm. The patient lies on a table and shock waves are then focused upon the kidney stone. The lithotripter machine is outside the body and the procedure is completely non-invasive. The lithotripter effectively disintegrates the stone into small pieces. The patient must then pass all the stone fragments out of the urinary system via the urine.
The stone-free rate with ESWL is in the 50 % to 60% range. The procedure is low risk.
Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy or PNL is performed upon patients with stones larger than 20 mm. Patients usually stay in the hospital for about 3 days following this procedure. The procedure is performed under general anesthesia.
A small opening is made in the back over the kidney with a needle. Dr. Lazare dilates this opening and then he inserts a fiber-optic telescope into the kidney. Dr. Lazare visualizes the stone and breaks it into small pieces with a wand – like instrument that creates mechanical shock waves. The stone fragments are then removed with suction.
Video About Kidney Stone
If you are dealing with painful kidney stones and are interested in learning more about your treatment options, contact our Brooklyn, New York office today. Dr. Lazare is a board-certified urologist and accomplished surgeon who can help treat your stone and help eliminate your pain.