Spiral Computed Tomogram (CT)
Smaller non-obstructing stones in the kidney can be treated conservatively, but obstructing stones in the kidney and ureter (the muscular tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder) need urgent treatment. Prompt diagnosis by our on-site spiral CT scan facilitates this and allows us to offer bespoke treatment based on site, size and density of the stone.
Some stones are suitable for medical treatment using medication that help the passage of the stone. This is called Medical Expulsive Therapy (MET).
For patients with recurrent or complex stones complete evaluation with biochemical analysis of the blood and urine is recommended. This allows our Urologists to give advice on measures to help reduce the risk of further episodes.
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)
ESWL utilises high-energy shock waves to break kidney stones down into tiny fragments. These fragments are then flushed out of the body in the urine. The treatment is carried out without any need for anaesthesia and on an outpatient basis. Some patients may require multiple treatment sessions.
During the procedure patients are asked to lie on their back on the couch, and an X-ray or ultrasound will be used to pinpoint the exact position of the kidney stone. Once it has been located, gel will be applied to the skin to enable good contact with the lithotripter probe. The probe will focus the shock waves precisely onto the stone to break it up. The machine makes a clicking noise as it works but patients usually don’t feel very much at all to begin with. The intensity of the shock waves is then increased gradually.
Although the sound waves themselves do not hurt, most people feel an unusual sensation as the stone is broken up. Pain relief is offered to make the procedure more comfortable. The treatment usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes. If you have several stones in the same kidney they may all be treated, but only one kidney is treated at a time.
Lithotripsy is a very effective treatment for stones between 4mm – 15mm in diameter.
Rigid and flexible ureteroscopy
A surgical procedure called ureteroscopy may be required if you have a stone in your ureter. This procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and involves passing a thin telescope into the bladder and then up into the ureter. The stone can then be broken up using a Holmium laser or a mechanical lithoclast (rigid instrument that breaks stones). The Holmium laser is capable of breaking any stone into small fragments so that they can then be removed surgically or passed naturally in the urine.
Patients undergoing this treatment are usually admitted as either a day-case or spend a single night in hospital.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNCL)
This treatment is often used for larger stones or if alternative treatments such as ESWL are not suitable. It is sometimes referred to as keyhole kidney stone surgery. The procedure is performed under general anaesthetic and usually requires a 2 or 3 night stay. During this procedure a small cut is made in your back and a telescopic instrument is passed through into the kidney. Once identified, the stone can then be broken down into smaller pieces and removed. Occasionally, an external tube is left in the wound for one day but in most cases an internal tube (stent) is inserted and then removed under local anaesthetic a few weeks later.
This treatment is particularly effective for stones larger than 20mm.
For more information or to make an appointment with a Consultant Urologist please call
01925 215 029 or please complete the form on the right hand side of this page.