There are different ways to remove a kidney stone. Along with the size of the stone, it is as crucial to know about the position of the stone in the kidney. The most important thing to consider is if a kidney stone is causing the patient any illness physically. If the urinary stone is found to be small, the doctor advises observation for six weeks without any complicated treatment methods.
Meanwhile, there is a possibility that the stone will be pushed out through the urine itself. The main treatment is to drink plenty of water. Alkalis and pain relievers may also be used. Taking tamsulosin to relax the urinary tract makes it easier for the stone to pass through the urine.
Surgery: If there is persistent infection and obstruction of the urinary tract due to urinary stones then you require surgery. Keyhole surgery only requires a day and the patient also does not feel much pain.
ESWL: Shock Wave Lithotripsy is a method of breaking up urinary stones. When ultrasound-assisted shock waves are applied to urinary stones, the stones are pulverized. Within weeks these stones easily pass through the urine.
URS: This is a procedure in which a surgical instrument is inserted into the bladder to remove the stone from the ureter. The surgeon removes the stone while looking through a scope. This surgical procedure can be performed only when the patient is completely unconscious.
PCNKL: If the stone is large, this surgical procedure is required. The patient is administered general anesthesia before the operation. A half-inch incision is made in the outer part of the abdomen and a nephroscope is passed through to break up the stone. In very rare cases, robotic kidney stone treatment is used.
(Dr. Saroja Nair is President, Nephrology association of Kerala)