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Sphere on Spiral Stairs


  - By Dr Vikas Singh  
  M.B.B.S., M.S., M.Ch.  
  Urologist, Genito Uro Oncologist and Kidney Transplant Surgeon  
   Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore.  

What is PCNL surgery?

PCNL (Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy) is a minimally invasive surgical procedure performed to remove kidney stones. The procedure involves making a small incision in the patient's back to gain access to the kidney. A nephroscope is then inserted through the incision to visualize and remove the stones from the kidney.


Why is PCNL surgery performed?

PCNL surgery is performed to remove kidney stones that are too large to pass naturally or are causing significant pain and discomfort. The procedure is also performed when other non-invasive treatments, such as shock wave lithotripsy or ureteroscopy, have failed to remove the kidney stones.


What are the benefits of PCNL surgery?

The benefits of PCNL surgery include:

  • Minimally invasive procedure: PCNL is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that involves making only a small incision in the patient's back. This results in less pain, scarring, and a shorter recovery time compared to traditional open surgery.

  • High success rate: PCNL has a high success rate of up to 95% in removing kidney stones.

  • Reduced hospital stay: Patients usually stay in the hospital for 1-2 days following the surgery, as opposed to several days with open surgery.

  • Rapid recovery: Most patients can resume normal activities within a week after the surgery.

What are the risks and complications of PCNL surgery?

As with any surgical procedure, there are risks and potential complications associated with PCNL surgery. These may include:

  • Bleeding: There is a risk of bleeding during and after the procedure, which may require blood transfusions or further surgical intervention.

  • Infection: There is a risk of infection following the surgery, which may require antibiotics or further medical treatment.

  • Damage to surrounding organs: There is a risk of damage to surrounding organs, such as the liver, spleen, or lungs.

  • Ureteral injury: There is a risk of injury to the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder.

  • Pain: Some patients may experience pain and discomfort following the surgery, which may require pain medication.

How should I prepare for PCNL surgery?

Before the surgery, your doctor will perform a physical examination and may order blood tests, urine tests, and imaging studies, such as an X-ray or CT scan. You should inform your doctor of any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications and supplements, as well as any medical conditions you have.

You will need to fast for several hours before the surgery, as directed by your doctor. You may also be instructed to stop taking certain medications, such as blood thinners, in the days leading up to the surgery.

What happens during PCNL surgery?

PCNL surgery is performed under general anesthesia. Once you are asleep, the surgeon will make a small incision in your back and insert a nephroscope through the incision. The nephroscope allows the surgeon to visualize the stones in your kidney and remove them using special instruments. The procedure typically takes 2-3 hours to complete.

What happens after PCNL surgery?

After the surgery, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for a few hours. You will then be moved to a hospital room, where you will be encouraged to walk around and drink plenty of fluids to help flush out any remaining stone fragments

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