Ureteroscopy involves the insertion of a small telescope (ureteroscope) into the ureter, which is the tube connecting the kidneys to the bladder. The surgery is usually performed for kidney stones but can be performed for other reasons as well, including suspicion of tumor or stricture.
During the procedure the surgeon will use the ureteroscope to navigate through your urinary tract system to the stone. Kidney stones may be fragmented with a laser or removed using a basket.
A stent is a plastic tube that will be inserted to prevent the obstruction of urine flow from the kidneys to the bladder. This tube is removed in the office after the procedure, typically around one week after the procedure.
The procedure is usually outpatient and performed under general anesthesia. It lasts between one and three hours.
In some patients it is not safe to perform the ureteroscopy and only a stent is placed.
Possible complications include:
- Perforation of the ureter resulting in the stent staying in longer, insertion of a tube directly into the kidney, or more invasive surgery.
- Formation of scar tissue in the ureter creating a blockage and damage to the kidney months after the procedure.
- Occasionally the stone cannot be removed which may require additional treatment.
- Blood clots in the legs (deep vein thrombosis).
Please Observe the following Pre-Operative Guidelines:
- You should stop the following medications one week prior to surgery: aspirin (ASA), NSAIDs (Motrin, Advil, ibuprofen), Coumadin, Lovenox, Celebrex, and Plavix. Please contact us if you are unsure about which medications to stop, and do not stop any medication without contacting your prescribing physician).
- It is very important that your last urine culture be negative before the procedure.
- Have nothing by mouth after midnight the night prior to your procedure unless otherwise instructed by the anesthesiologist.
After the procedure
You can expect to have some pain for a few days, possible discomfort from the stent and may see blood in your urine (you may be prescribed pain medication and antibiotics to prevent infection).
Most patients are able to resume full activity in about 3 days; in the meantime avoid all heavy lifting and intense forms of exercise. Walking is encouraged. Avoid sitting or lying down for prolonged periods of time.
Make sure to consume additional fluids until your stent is removed
Please contact us if your pain continues to increase, you observe large amounts of blood or blood clots in your urine. Call immediately if you have a fever above 101°F. All these may be indicators of an injury or a serious infection.
It is also necessary to schedule follow-up visits between one and two weeks after the procedure to assess progress.