This treatment involves the use of a very small, fiber-optic instrument called an ureteroscope, which allows access to stones in the ureter or kidney. The ureteroscope allows your urologist to directly visualize the stone by progressing up the ureter via the bladder. No incisions are necessary. General anesthesia is generally used to keep the patient comfortable during the procedure. Once the stone is seen through the ureteroscope, a small, basket-like device can be used to grasp smaller stones and remove them. If a stone is too large to remove in one piece, it can be fragmented into smaller pieces. Most commonly this is accomplished with laser energy.
Once the stone has been completely treated, the procedure is done. In many cases, the urologist may choose to place a stent within the ureter, to allow any post-operative swelling or reaction to subside.