Along with ESWL, ureteroscopy is a preferred method for the treatment of small-to-medium sized kidney stones located in any part of the urinary tract. Tulane University was one of the first centers in the country to offer ureteroscopic stone treatment. Our highly skilled endourologists are available to offer advanced ureteroscopic stone management.

Ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy are typically performed as a same-day procedure with the patient under general anesthesia. During the procedure, the urologist passes a small scope through the urinary opening into the bladder and from there up into the ureter, the small tube that drains urine from the kidney to the bladder. Once the stones are located, they are targeted with a laser that breaks the stone into smaller pieces, which are then extracted, or into tiny pieces of dust that wash out of the kidney with normal urine flow.

Often, a small tube, called a stent, will be placed temporarily to help the kidney drain after the operation. The stent is completely internal, and is generally removed after 3-10 days. Removal is performed quickly and easily in the office without the need for anesthesia.

Although slightly more invasive than shockwave lithotripsy, ureteroscopy may be the preferred option if you have certain types of hard stones that don’t respond to shockwave lithotripsy, or a stone that is not visible on X-ray. In addition, ureteroscopy is often preferable to shockwave lithotripsy for stones that are low in the urinary tract, in the region approaching the bladder.

Advantages of ureteroscopy include:

  • Excellent results for small- and medium-sized kidney stones
  • Versatility and capability of treating some stones that won’t break with ESWL
  • Can be performed without stopping blood-thinning medication
  • Outpatient procedure
  • No incisions
  • Easy and fast scheduling