Percutaneous stone surgery is usually used for larger stones. A small hollow tube is placed directly through a patient’s back into the kidney through which larger instruments can then be used to fragment and extract the stone(s). Although this approach typically requires a hospital stay and is more invasive than ureteroscopy or extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy, it is often the most effective method for treating large stones quickly and completely. For more information on comparing the surgical options for kidney stones, see our comparison chart.
Percutaneous stone surgery may also be indicated in certain situations where the ureter below a kidney is obstructed, such as in ureteropelvic junction obstructions, where a ureteroscope cannot be advanced from below.