Percutaneous nephrostolithotomy (PCNL) is a common minimally invasive procedure that uses a needle and an endoscope passed through the skin and into the kidney to either remove (lithotomy) or break up (lithotripsy) the stone.
In a percutaneous nephrostolithotomy, the doctor makes a small puncture in the patient’s back to create a tract directly on the kidney to the stone. Through the tract, the doctor inserts a fiber optic telescope called a nephroscope to either manually remove the stone or break it up into tiny pieces using a laser, ultrasound probe or pneumatic device prior to extraction.
After the procedure, a temporary nephrostomy tube is placed in the kidney and another tube called a stent is placed in the ureter to prevent it from swelling shut and to drain the urine from the kidney. Once the kidney is healed and all the stones have been eliminated, the tubes are removed.
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