Everything You Need To Know About Ureteroscopy Procedure
Urology Of Greater Atlanta
Your doctor may have prescribed a ureteroscopy if you’re experiencing pain while urinating or have a urine blockage caused by kidney stones. The procedure is usually performed to find and/or fix problems in your urinary tract.
The highly-trained urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta are fully equipped to carry out this procedure and other diagnostic tests for kidney stones. Contact one of our offices in Georgia today!
What Is a Ureteroscopy?
If you have pain when you pee or possibly have kidney stones, your doctor may want you to have a ureteroscopy. It’s a procedure to find — and, in some cases, treat — problems in your urinary tract.
During ureteroscopy, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible scope into your bladder and ureter (the tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). This way, they can look for kidney stones or other kidney diseases, such as a tumor or abnormal tissue.
A ureteroscopy can also be used to treat kidney disease and urinary leakage.
Benefits and Risks
The main benefit of ureteroscopy is that it’s an effective way to remove or break up kidney stones. It is a lot less painful than trying to pass a kidney stone without treatment.
Ureteroscopy may have a higher success rate at removing very large stones in comparison to other treatments, such as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL). Surgery is minimally invasive and an outpatient procedure, which means it does not require a hospital stay.
The risks are minimal. Ureteroscopy carries a slight chance of bleeding or injury to the ureter. This makes it ideal for those who are pregnant, morbidly obese, or have a blood clotting disorder. There is also a small chance of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI).
There may be some discomfort while peeing. And, if there is some swelling in the ureter, urinating may be difficult.
Ureteroscopy requires general anesthesia; therefore, there is a small risk of related problems.
If you previously had a history of urinary tract reconstruction, such as ureteral or bladder reconstruction, a ureteroscope may not be able to pass through to your kidney.
How Do I Prepare for a Ureteroscope?
There is very little to do before a ureteroscopy. The urologist will tell you when to stop eating, drinking, and taking certain medications, such as blood thinners. Be sure to tell the urologist all the prescription medicines that you are taking.
Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to urinate before surgery.
Be sure to arrange a ride home after the surgery, as the anesthesia may leave you feeling drowsy.
What Happens During a Ureteroscopy?
Your surgeon will insert the thin, flexible ureteroscope into your bladder and ureter (the tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). Once there, they can look for and treat kidney stones.
If the kidney stone is small enough, the surgeon may use a wire basket device to snare the stone and remove it. If it is too big to pass the ureter, they may use a holmium laser to break the stone into smaller fragments. This has a similar effect as shock wave lithotripsy.
A ureteral stent may be inserted to ease the passage of the stone fragments and ensure the kidney drains urine well.
After the Procedure
When the procedure has finished, the ureteroscope is removed, and the liquid in your bladder is emptied. Over the next 1-4 hours, you will recover, and the anesthesia will wear off. You will be encouraged to drink plenty of water during the next 2 hours (as much as 160z).
You may see a little blood in the urine for the next 24 hours and experience mild to moderate pain when you pee. Pain medication and antibiotics may be prescribed just in case of infection. A warm bath or a warm, damp washcloth placed over the opening of your urethra may be used to ease some discomfort.
Be alert to an increase in pain, chills, or fever. This could mean you have an infection, and you should seek further help from your doctor.
Once all the pieces of stone come out of the urinary tract, the ureteral stent will need to be removed. You will have to return to have this done.
If you have larger kidney stones, then your doctor may recommend you for percutaneous nephrolithotomy. It’s a minimally invasive surgery with few risks.
Treat Your Kidney Stones Today
If you think you might be a candidate for ureteroscopy, contact the board-certified urologists at Urology of Greater Atlanta. Our specialists can perform tests to diagnose kidney stones and provide you with the help you may need.
Our specialists keep up to day with the latest information from the most reputable resources, such as the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Thus, you are in good hands when you see our experts. Schedule an appointment today at one of our convenient locations throughout Georgia!