Ureteroscopy

As a leader in providing ureteroscopy procedures, we offer expert care in kidney stone removal so you can get back to living your best and healthiest life

IU Health provides more kidney stone removal procedures than nearly anywhere else in the United States. That means you can expect quality surgical outcomes and the latest technology when we treat your kidney stones.

Our most common treatment option is a minimally invasive ureteroscopy. Using a scope and a laser, your kidney stone will be broken down and passed naturally or removed by your care team.

Kidney stones are pieces of solid, crystallized matter that form in the kidneys. These stones develop when chemicals that are normal in the urine become concentrated. Kidney stones can be painful and interfere with your daily activities.

If you have been diagnosed with kidney stones, a ureteroscopy may be the right treatment option to remove and prevent future kidney stone formation. This procedure can treat patients of all sizes, body types and lifestyles, including those who are on blood thinners or pregnant.

What is a Ureteroscopy?

A ureteroscopy is an endoscopic procedure provided in an outpatient setting. A ureteroscope allows a tiny camera and instruments to be inserted through the urethra to locate where the kidney stone is lodged. Live images of the ureter and stone appear on the monitor, allowing the stone to be safely broken up with a laser. The pieces of the stone pass out into the bladder and are then eliminated through urination.

Understanding a Ureteroscopy

Kidney stones are pieces of solid, crystallized matter that form in the kidneys. These stones develop when chemicals that are normal in the urine become concentrated. Kidney stones can be painful and interfere with your daily activities.

If you have been diagnosed with kidney stones, a ureteroscopy may be the right treatment option to remove and prevent future kidney stone formation. This procedure can treat patients of all sizes, body types and lifestyles, including those who are on blood thinners or pregnant.

What is a Ureteroscopy?

A ureteroscopy is an endoscopic procedure provided in an outpatient setting. A ureteroscope allows a tiny camera and instruments to be inserted through the urethra to locate where the kidney stone is lodged. Live images of the ureter and stone appear on the monitor, allowing the stone to be safely broken up with a laser. The pieces of the stone pass out into the bladder and are then eliminated through urination.

Watch: What to Expect with Ureteroscopy

To ensure you are a good candidate for a ureteroscopy, your care team will conduct pre-operative testing.

If necessary, you will be taken off blood thinner medications to prevent unwanted bleeding during and after the surgery. You will also be asked to avoid eating or drinking after midnight the day before your procedure.

Preparing for Your Ureteroscopy

To ensure you are a good candidate for a ureteroscopy, your care team will conduct pre-operative testing.

If necessary, you will be taken off blood thinner medications to prevent unwanted bleeding during and after the surgery. You will also be asked to avoid eating or drinking after midnight the day before your procedure.

Prior to your procedure, you will be placed under anesthesia to help you stay comfortable and safe during surgery. You will also be given an anti-inflammatory drug to help manage pain and improve the outcome of the procedure.

Once you are asleep, we locate your kidney stone using a long, thin instrument with a high-resolution camera called a “ureteroscope”.

The scope is used to move your kidney stone to a safe location where we can use an attached advanced laser system to pulverize the stone into smaller pieces. These fragments will either pass through your body on their own, or we will remove them using a basket.

Once the stone has been successfully broken down, your doctor will place a thin tube called a “stent” in your ureter. This will help maintain unobstructed urine flow from your kidney.

During Your Ureteroscopy

Prior to your procedure, you will be placed under anesthesia to help you stay comfortable and safe during surgery. You will also be given an anti-inflammatory drug to help manage pain and improve the outcome of the procedure.

Once you are asleep, we locate your kidney stone using a long, thin instrument with a high-resolution camera called a “ureteroscope”.

The scope is used to move your kidney stone to a safe location where we can use an attached advanced laser system to pulverize the stone into smaller pieces. These fragments will either pass through your body on their own, or we will remove them using a basket.

Once the stone has been successfully broken down, your doctor will place a thin tube called a “stent” in your ureter. This will help maintain unobstructed urine flow from your kidney.

Once the procedure is complete, patients typically leave the hospital the same day and return to normal activities in a few days to a week.

As you recover, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort from the stent
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Some blood in the urine

If you are concerned about any symptoms or pain management, please speak with your doctor after your procedure.

After Your Ureteroscopy

Once the procedure is complete, patients typically leave the hospital the same day and return to normal activities in a few days to a week.

As you recover, you may experience the following symptoms:

  • Pain or discomfort from the stent
  • Urgency to urinate
  • Some blood in the urine

If you are concerned about any symptoms or pain management, please speak with your doctor after your procedure.

Patient Stories for Ureteroscopy