What is a Ureteroscopy?
Ureteroscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that is used to treat ureteric and/or renal stones. It can also be used to obtain a biopsy from an abnormality (such as a tumour) that is found in the ureter or kidney cavity.
What is a Ureteroscopy used to treat?
Ureteroscopy is one of the most successful ways of treating ureteric and renal stones up to a size of 15 mm.
It can be used as well to destroy small ureteric or renal cavity tumours using the laser.
What does the procedure involve?
Ureteroscopy involves the insertion of a very small telescope up through the water pipe (urethra) to the bladder and then up the ureter (the tube that drains the urine from the kidney down to the bladder). This is performed under general anaesthetic.
A straight telescope (semi-rigid ureteroscope) is normally used for stones in the ureter. A flexible telescope with a movable tip (flexible ureteroscope) is used to access stones in the kidney.
Laser fibre can be inserted down the middle of the telescope to allow the stone to be broken. A tiny wire basket may then be used to remove the stone fragments. Very small fragments may be left to pass out on their own.
Sometimes we might need to leave a temporary stent in your ureter after the procedure which is usually removed under local anaesthesia in a week or two after surgery. Your urologist will arrange this for you on your discharge
How long does it take to recover from a ureteroscopy?
The procedure usually takes less than one hour to perform and is usually performed as a day case surgery, so you will usually be able to go home later on the same day. You will only need a few days to recover afterwards.
Are there any risks associated with the procedure?
Ureteroscopy is generally a very safe procedure, but you might experience some transient postoperative symptoms such as discomfort or pain in the bladder and kidney region, this is usually managed with simple painkillers and increasing your oral fluid intake.
You might also encounter some urinary symptoms, such as passing blood in the urine, urgency to pass the urine and increased frequency of urination.
These symptoms usually resolve within a few days of the procedure, or with 24 to 48 hours after the stent is removed.