Failures and obstructions of the renal systems affect people of all ages and are of primary concern for surgical urologists. When a patient presents with symptoms that indicate a problem with the kidneys or other components of the system, the first thing a doctor will perform is a battery of diagnostics. There are many tools that modern medicine has at its disposal to diagnose impending failures and obstructions. One of these tools is known as an ureteroscopy.

During this type of diagnosis, the urologist does not make any incisions in the abdomen. Instead, the doctor inserts a thin viewing instrument known as an ureteroscope into the tube that leads from the outside of the body to the bladder also called the urethra. Once inserted, the doctor manipulates the scope through the bladder and into the ureter in order to access to the location of the suspected the kidney stone.

Once the stone is located, the urologist may be in a position to actually remove the stones using the following steps:

  • The urologist removes the kidney stone with forceps or by using an instrument with an appendage that captures the stone.
  • If stones are small enough to be extracted through the tubes, they can be removed all in one piece; however, larger crystals may need to be broken up before they can be removed.
  • While many types of instruments are available to break up stones, most urologists prefer to use a laser.


      The urologist can also employ an ureteroscope to reach a kidney stone that has become lodged in the ureter just after trying to pass from the kidney. Before a larger stone can be removed, the doctor will need to push the stone back up into the kidney. After the stone is returned to the kidney, the mass can then be fragmented using various procedures such as lithotripsy.

    Following the procedure, most patients are able to return home on the same day of the procedure. If a hospital stay is required, it usually lasts no more than a day or two. Patients may experience a defined burning sensation when urinating after the procedure. This burning sensation usually dissipates within twenty four hours and drinking a lot of water can help reduce the burning. Painful urination may also be mitigated by prescription medication and patients have also reported blood in the urine that usually disappears after three days.

    Urologists use this type of procedure to remove crystalline deposits that remain stuck in the ureter and are located in the lower third of the ureter. Advanced medical technology is allowing more ureteroscopy procedures to be performed even for smaller stones in or near the kidney and studies have shown that it is effective about ninety-five percent of the time.

    While a very effective treatment, there are complications associated with an ureteroscopy and are more likely when the stone is close to the kidney and may manifest by injury to the ureter, urinary tract infections, bleeding, and pronounced abdominal pain. If a patient presents with conditions such as abdominal surgery or an enlarged prostate, a procedure such as a ureteroscopy may be more difficult if not impossible.