What are ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy?
Ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy are medical procedures for treating kidney stones when they are too large and cannot pass naturally through your urinary tract.
Both procedures are effective for treating kidney stones greater than 2 cm and are associated with minimal discomfort and a shorter recovery time than more invasive surgical approaches. Your urologist will determine the most suitable treatment based on the size, location, and complexity of your kidney stones.
How do ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy work?
Ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy are two procedures that work together to reduce large kidney stones into smaller pieces so they can pass through the urinary tract.
A minimally invasive procedure where a ureteroscope – a thin, flexible tube with a camera at one end is inserted through your urinary opening into the ureter and sometimes the kidney. This allows your urologist to visualise the stone directly. The stone can then be removed or fragmented using different techniques.
During a ureteroscopy, laser lithotripsy may be used if a stone is too large to be removed whole. A laser fibre is passed through the ureteroscope, and laser energy is applied directly to the stone, breaking it into smaller pieces. These smaller fragments can then pass out of the body more easily.
Both procedures are typically performed under anaesthesia and can often be done as outpatient treatments.
Benefits of ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy
- Minimally invasive
- Targeted treatment
- High success rate
- Minimal discomfort
- Shorter recovery time
- Fewer complications
- Reduced risk of scarring
- Improved stone clearance
What conditions can ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy treat?
Ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy can be used to treat the following:
- Kidney stones (renal calculi)
- Ureteral stones
- Bladder stones
- Urethral stones
- Blocked urine flow due to stones in the urinary tract
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms or conditions stated above, make an appointment with Aare Urocare today for accurate and effective treatment. Helmed by urologist in Singapore, Dr Fiona Wu, Aare is a urology specialist clinic that offers discreet services and specialised treatments tailored to your kidney stone, bladder and prostate condition.
What results can I expect?
When undergoing ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy, there are several positive outcomes you can expect; these are:
- Stone fragmentation: the procedure effectively breaks down kidney, ureteral, bladder or urethral stones into smaller fragments, making them easier to pass naturally.
- Pain relief: as the stones are fragmented or completely removed, the pain and discomfort caused by urinary blockage and stone movement are alleviated.
- Improved urinary flow: clearing obstructions in the urinary tract allows for improved urine flow, reducing the risk of infections and discomfort.
- Short recovery time: ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy are minimally invasive procedures, resulting in a relatively short recovery period compared to traditional surgical procedures.
- Lower risk of complications: the minimally invasive nature of these procedures reduces the risk of complications and minimises scarring.
- Prevention of recurrence: by removing or fragmenting the stones, the procedure can help prevent the recurrence of stones in the urinary tract.
It is important to note that the specific results vary depending on the size and location of the stones and other individual factors. Based on your unique case, your urologist will provide personalised guidance on what you can expect from the procedure.
How many treatment sessions are needed?
The number of treatment sessions required for ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy varies depending on several factors, including the size and location of the urinary stones, your overall health, and how well you respond to the initial treatment. The procedure can often be completed in a single session, especially for smaller stones.
Multiple sessions may be necessary for larger or more complex stones to ensure complete stone clearance. Your urologist will assess your condition and tailor the treatment plan accordingly. They will monitor the progress of stone fragmentation or removal during the procedure and determine if additional sessions are needed.
It is essential to follow your urologist’s recommendations closely and attend any follow-up appointments to assess the effectiveness of the treatment and address any residual stone fragments or potential complications. Your urologist will work with you to achieve the best possible outcome and minimise the risk of stone recurrence.
Frequently asked questions
Ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy are typically not painful during the procedure as they are performed under anaesthesia. However, you may experience some discomfort or mild pain during recovery, which can be managed with medications as needed.
The recovery time after ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy varies depending on the specific case and individual factors. Generally, it may take a few days to a couple of weeks for most individuals to fully recover and resume normal activities.
After ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy, your urologist may recommend dietary and lifestyle changes to reduce the risk of future kidney stones. These include staying hydrated, moderating salt intake, and possibly nutritional adjustments based on stone composition.