A kidney stone surgeon is a surgeon (a doctor that does operations) who specialises in the treatment of kidney stone disease. Mr Ken Anson is a consultant urologist and one of the UK’s top kidney stone surgeons who also treats many other adult urological issues.
A kidney stone is a hard deposit of salts and minerals that form within the kidney. This can be caused by a number of different factors. In a large number of cases the stones will naturally pass, however in some cases they will have to be removed by a kidney stone surgeon due to complications and severe symptoms.
There are three main techniques that a kidney stone surgeon can use to remove stones. Over the years these technologies have evolved and become progressively less invasive. Many of the most modern surgical innovations are utilised in the management of kidney stone surgery. It is important to remember that not everyone will need surgery.
Here are some of the most common techniques kidney stone surgeons use:
- Shockwave lithotripsy – this is an outpatient treatment that is used to treat small to medium sized stones in the kidney and ureter. High energy shockwaves are delivered from outside the body and focussed on the stone in order to break it up into pieces small enough to naturally pass out in the urine.
- Ureteroscopy – this is an inpatient procedure often performed on a day case basis. A small endoscope is inserted up the urethra into the ureter and kidney. The stones are broken under direct vision on a TV monitor using a laser and the small pieces can either be removed or left to naturally pass in the urine.
- Percutaneous nephrolithotomy – this procedure is usually used for more complicated cases and is more invasive. The kidney is approached from the back, using a small incision to insert a larger endoscope into the kidney in order to treat large volume stones. The stone is then crushed and removed in small pieces. This procedure usually involved a hospital stay of one or two nights.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.