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Kidney stone removal

Imperial Private Healthcare provides comprehensive management of kidney stone disease; with multiple treatment options available to suit our patients’ unique needs and improve the likelihood of kidney stone clearance.

Ureteroscopy (URS)

In some cases a ureteroscopy may be the best option for treating your kidney stones. This outpatient procedure involves inserting a small, flexible instrument a little like a telescope into your bladder and ureter. Once the stones have been located they can easily be broken using our state-of-the-art laser device and are then removed through the bladder. The procedure requires no incisions and is performed under a short general anaesthetic

This procedure is most commonly used for kidney stones or ureteric stones.

We are one of few centres in the country that has invested in the latest digital scopes and have some of the best and most recent technologies. These high-tech instruments offer our surgeons better vision and accuracy so kidney stones can be cleared more effectively.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)

ESWL is a non-invasive procedure that involves directing high-energy sound waves from outside the body to break stones into small fragments that can pass naturally through urine. It is a quick procedure that requires only minimal pain relief, meaning that you can attend as an outpatient, there is a reduced risk of infection and you will recover more quickly.

Charing Cross Hospital was one of the first London institutions to use ESWL more than two decades ago. We therefore have one of the most experienced teams in the UK offering in-house ESWL treatment for kidney stones.

Following a scan to accurately locate the kidney stones, you will lie on a water-filled cushion, which helps the high-energy ultrasound waves to reach the target. At Charing Cross Hospital, we apply ESWL using our own state-of-the-art in-house lithotripter – the ultrasound machine that breaks down the stones.
The procedure lasts less than an hour and does not require a general anaesthetic. Usually, you can go home straight away and you do not need to stay in hospital overnight.

After the procedure, the stone fragments will usually pass in the urine after a few days. Larger stones or stones in certain locations may require subsequent ESWL treatments or an alternative approach. With 24/7 access to specialists in this field of care, we can provide any immediate follow-up treatment or pain relief promptly, should you need it.

This method is suitable for around two-thirds of patients. Its usage depends on the size, location and density of the stone, and specific patient factors such as body-mass index, medications and other health circumstances, such as pregnancy.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

A PNCL procedure is a key-hole surgery which is performed to treat larger and more complicated kidney stones. This takes place under general anaesthetic, and is recommended when it is not possible to remove your kidney stones through a less invasive method.

Your surgeon will pass a surgical telescope (nephroscope) through a small incision using ultrasound and x-ray for a guide. The kidney stones will be broken in to smaller pieces with a laser or other stone breaking devices and is removed via the nephroscope.

At Charing Cross, we have invested in more state-of –the-art advanced, smaller instruments and lasers. We are one of the few centres offering a newer, smaller version of the PCNL keyhole procedure called the Mini-PCNL to treat large kidney stones.

It means performing a safer procedure through a smaller incision with less post-operative pain, quicker recovery and a hospital stay of just one day.

The team’s surgical expertise also allows them to perform the mini-PCNL procedure with patients lying on their back (known as a mini supine PCNL), rather than on their stomach which is a more traditional way of doing it. This is safer and has fewer complications.