Does Removal of Kidney Stones Require Surgery?

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If a kidney stone is too large to pass through the urinary tract, a surgeon might perform a ureteroscopy to remove the stone from the body. Although a surgeon removes the stone, ureteroscopy is considered an outpatient procedure, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

In many cases, shock-wave lithotripsy is used to break up large kidney stones from outside the body. Some people are not good candidates for lithotripsy, however, so ureteroscopy is used instead. During a ureteroscopy, the surgeon inserts a scope into the urinary tract and removes the kidney stone. If a stone is very large or has an unusual shape, percutaneous nephrolithotomy, a procedure that punctures the kidney, might be necessary, states the National Kidney Foundation. In rare cases, the surgeon must perform an open surgical procedure to remove the kidney stone.