Ureteroscopy (URS) is a form of minimally invasive surgery using a small telescope that is passed through the urethra and into the ureter to remove a stone. Often the stone requires fragmentation with a laser which then allows the smaller fragments to removed with a grasping device. Only about 10-15% or urethral stones require surgical intervention. URS is approximately 95% successful in removing stones in the lower ureter and about 85-90% successful in treating and removing stones in the upper ureter and kidney.
URS is an outpatient procedure meaning that patients generally go home the same day. The procedure is typically done using general anesthesia however sometimes regional anesthesia can be used successfully in select cases. A preoperative antibiotic is usually given to prevent infection. The procedure can vary in length-sometimes as short as 20 minutes for small un-complicated stones, to one (1) or longer for larger, more complicated stones.