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Treatments for Large Kidney Stones

Some kidney stones are too large to pass through the urinary system and may cause painful symptoms or even urinary tract infections. In this case, your doctor may recommend surgical procedures that include:

  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) and Tubeless PCNL is an innovative surgical treatment for patients who have large, complex kidney stones that cannot be treated successfully using other treatments.  Typically, PCNL and tubeless PCNL is used to remove kidney stones that are larger than 2cm in diameter and cannot be passed through the urinary tract. Percutaneous refers to surgery via a small incision through the skin, rather than an open, more invasive procedure. PCNL has become a viable and preferred alternative to open surgery for removing large kidney stones and should be performed by a highly trained surgeon who has specific experience with this complex, delicate procedure.

Learn More About PCNL and Tubeless PCNL HERE. 

  • Shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) utilizes an X-ray machine to locate the stone(s) within the body, and shock waves are used to break up the stone(s) into very small particles that can be passed through the urine. This procedure is the least invasive option –  there are no incisions and no scopes placed into the patient’s body.  SWL, however, may not be appropriate for all patients as the shock waves may not adequately break up stones in certain cases.
  • Ureteroscopy/ Renoscopy uses a small scope that is passed into the body through the urethra (the tube where urine exits the body) without the need for an incision.  The scope is then advanced to the kidney stone and a laser is used to break it up.   This option is appropriate for nearly all stones; however, with larger stones repeat procedures may be necessary to completely clear them.

Whenever possible, your doctor will collect the passed or surgically removed kidney stones to have them analyzed in a lab to determine the type of stones your body has made.  This analysis will aid your physician in developing a personalized treatment and prevention plan for the future.

A National Expert in Large, Complex Kidney Stone Treatment

Dr. Julio Davalos is one of the nation’s leading experts in PCNL and Tubeless PCNL, helping thousands of patients with large kidney stones go on to become stone-free for the long term.  

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