Surgery options for kidney stones include removal of the stones using a scope inserted through the back, use of a ureteroscope through the urethra or removal of the parathyroid, according to Mayo Clinic. Doctors also use sound waves to break up the stone, which sometimes requires anesthesia.
Most stones do not require surgery, according to WebMD. Large stones from an infection that stop the flow of urine or that cause bleeding are more likely to require surgery. With percutaneous nephrolithotomy, the doctor inserts a hollow tube into the kidney through an incision in the back to remove the stone. With larger stones, it is sometimes necessary to use sound waves to break up the stone before removal.
The surgeon removes smaller stones in the ureter or kidney using a ureteroscope, reports Mayo Clinic. He inserts the thin, lighted tube through the urethra and bladder into the ureter or kidney to remove the stone.
When kidney stones are due to a problem with the parathyroid, the doctor may suggest removal of the gland. While removing the gland does not relieve the current kidney stones, it prevents future stones from forming.
For stones that are too large to pass on their own, doctors sometimes use sound waves from outside the body to break up the stones. The extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy procedure requires 45 to 60 minutes and is moderately painful. Sedation or anesthesia helps to relieve the pain, according to Mayo Clinic.