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Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy for kidney stones (PCNL)

In a procedure like percutaneous nephrolithotomy or nephrolithotripsy, the surgeon usually makes a small incision in the lower back. Then a hollow tube is inserted into the kidney and a probe through the tube. The stone is directly removed through the tube if it is small. Whereas in nephrolithotripsy the stone is broken up into fragments before it is removed through the tube if it is large.

The whole surgery is done under general anesthesia or spinal anesthesia. At times a drain tube is inserted into the kidney to remove urine for 2-3 days.

Advantage of these surgeries

These surgical procedures may be required for only certain type of kidney stones, mainly as follows.
•  Kidney stones that are larger than 2 cms in diameter
•  Large stones occurring due to severe infections
•  Stones that are blocking the flow of urine from kidney
•  Kidney stones not broken by shock wave lithotripsy

Is it effective enough?

Yes, the surgical procedures discussed here best suit cases where the kidney stone is lodged in the kidney or ureter.

What are the risks?

There are certain risks in the procedures but they are rare. Risks include,
• Increased bleeding from the surgery site which needs blood transfusion
• Injury to other internal organs like colon

Hospital Stay

You will have to stay in the hospital for 2-3 days for doctors to monitor your recovery and kidney function. After discharge from the hospital you can return to normal work within a week or two.

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