Health Information

Ureteroscopy

Ureteroscopy

Definition

Ureteroscopy uses a small lighted tube to examine the ureters. Ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. This procedure can help diagnose and treat problems in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones.

Ureteral stone surgery

Description

Ureteroscopy is performed with a small tube (rigid or flexible) with a tiny camera on the end. This is called a ureteroscope.

  • The procedure usually takes 1 hour.
  • You will be given general anesthesia. This means you will be given medicine in your vein that puts you to sleep.
  • During the exam, you will lay down on your back with your knees raised.
  • Your groin and urethra will be washed. The scope is then inserted through the urethra, (tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body), into the bladder, and then up into the ureter.

During the ureteroscopy your doctor may:

  • Use small instruments to grab and remove kidney stones.
  • Place a stent in the ureter to allow urine and small pieces of kidney stone to pass through. If you have a stent you will need to return to have it removed in 1 or 2 weeks.
  • Remove a tumor.
  • Examine areas of the ureters that have become narrow.

  • Remove kidney stones
  • Diagnose repeated urinary tract infections and other problems
  • Examine a growth or tumor
  • Check for cancer

Risks

There is a small risk of:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Injury to a ureter

  • You may be asked not to eat or drink anything after midnight the day before your procedure.
  • You need to stop taking certain medications, such as aspirin or other blood thinners. Do not stop taking any prescription medicines unless your doctor tells you to.
  • You must arrange to have someone take you home after your exam.

  • You will wake up in a recovery room and can go home once you are awake and can urinate.
  • You will need to rest for 24 hours. You should have someone stay with you during that time.
  • Your doctor will give you antibiotics to help prevent infection. You may be given narcotic pain relievers such as Percocet or Vicodin.
  • Drink 4 to 6 glasses of water a day to dilute your urine and help flush out your urinary tract.
  • You will see blood in your urine for several days.
  • You may feel pain in your bladder and burning when you urinate. If your doctor says it's OK, sitting in a warm bath may help relieve the discomfort. Using a heating pad can also help.
  • If your doctor placed a stent, you may feel pain in your side, especially during and immediately following urination.
  • You can drive after you've stopped taking any narcotic pain relievers.

You will feel better in about 5 to 7 days. If you have a stent, it may take longer to feel better and become active again.

References

Matlaga B, Lingeman J. Surgical management of upper Urinary tract calculi. In: Wein, AJ, Kavoussi, LR, Novick, AC et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier 2011:48.

Sagalowsky A, Jarrett T, Flanigan R. Urothelial tumors of the upper urinary tract and ureter. In: Wein, AJ, Kavoussi, LR, Novick, AC et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier 2011:53.


Review Date: 10/2/2013
Reviewed By: Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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