(Removal of Stones in Ureter)
Laparoscopic ureterolithotomy is a procedure to remove stones from the ureter. The ureter is a tube between the kidney and the bladder. Urine passes down to the bladder through this tube.
Laparoscopic procedures use small incisions and specialized tools. This helps to avoid large incisions that are used during open surgery.
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Reasons for Procedure
Ureterolithotomy is used to remove stones in a ureter that:
- Are too large to pass
- Cause pain or bleeding
- Cause infection
- Block the flow of urine
- Place pressure on the kidney
Problems from the test are rare. However, all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Adverse reaction to anesthesia
- Excess bleeding
- Blood clots
- Excess scarring or narrowing in the ureter that can lead to kidney problems
- Failure to remove the kidney stone
- Excess scarring of incisions
- Problems urinating
- Problems having bowel movements
- Heart attack or stroke
Smoking may increase your risk of complications.
Talk to your doctor about these risks before the procedure.
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
- Images of your urinary system to locate the stone
- Blood and urine tests
- Ask about your medical history
- Talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking. Do not start taking any new medications, herbs, or supplements without talking to your doctor.
- You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to 1 week before the procedure.
- Arrange for a ride home from the hospital. Arrange for help at home as you recover.
- The night before your surgery, eat a light meal. Do not eat or drink anything after midnight unless told otherwise by your doctor.
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep through the procedure.
Description of the Procedure
A few small incisions will be made in your abdomen. Specialized tools will be inserted through the incisions. The tools will be used to make an incision in the side of the ureter. The stone will be removed through this incision. A stent may be placed in the ureter. This will support the ureter while it heals. The incision in the ureter will be closed with stitches. A drain will be put in place. It will help fluids drain from the area while you heal. When the tools are removed, the incisions in the abdomen will be closed with stitches. Bandages may be placed over the incisions.
The stone may be sent to a laboratory for testing after surgery.
Immediately After Procedure
After the operation, you will be taken to the recovery room for observation.
How Long Will It Take?
About 60 minutes
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. As you recover, you may have some pain. Your doctor will give you pain medication.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of your hospital stay is 2 to 4 days. If you have any problems, you may need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
- You may need oxygen for a brief time after your operation.
- You will have a tube near your incision. It will drain blood and fluid from the area. The tube may be removed within 3 to 4 days of surgery.
- You may have an IV until you are eating and drinking normally.
- You will have a catheter that will drain your urine.
- You will be given pain medication as needed.
- You may be encouraged to exercise by walking soon after surgery.
- You may be given blood thinning medication to prevent clots.
Certain physical activities will be limited in the first few weeks such as heavy lifting or sexual activity.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
- Extreme urge or inability to urinate
- Excess bleeding
- Redness or swelling at the site of the incision
- Pus draining from the site of the incision
- Signs of infection, including fever and chills
- Pain that cannot be controlled with the medications you were given
- Persistent nausea or vomiting
- Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Kidney stones. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Patient information: Open removal of stone from ureter. Addenbrooke’s Hospital NHS website. Available at: http://www.camurology.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/ureterolithotomy-44.pdf. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Ureterolithotomy (open) consent form. Queensland Government website. Available at: https://www.health.qld.gov.au/__data/assets/pdf_file/0024/145824/urology_21.pdf. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2020 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD