Stopping certain medications up to 1 week before the procedure
Not eating or drinking after midnight prior to the procedure
will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the procedure.
Description of the Procedure
The surgeon will make a small incision in the back. A wire is guided through the kidney and next to the stones to make a pathway.
will help locate the kidney stone(s) and map the path to them. The wire can help to widen the pathway so that an instrument with a small camera and surgical tools can be inserted. The stone may be broken apart with a probe or laser. The tools can then grab or suction out the stone pieces.
A drainage tube will be placed in the kidney to temporarily drain urine away from the kidney to the outside while the area heals. The incision will be stitched or stapled. The area may be covered with a bandage.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
Average Hospital Stay
The usual length of stay is 1-3 days. Complications may lead to a longer stay.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Antibiotics to prevent infection
Medication and compression stockings to prevent blood clots
X-rays to look for any remaining stone fragments
Removal of tube—often within 48 hours of procedure
You will be asked to walk around soon after your surgery. This helps circulate blood and prevent blood clots.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not allowing others to touch your incisions
Fatigue can continue for up to a month. Exercises and regular activity may be recommended to help your recovery. The hospital staff will provide instructions on caring for the wound to prevent infection.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
Redness, warmth, excessive bleeding or drainage from the incision site
Signs of infection, including fever or chills
Problems with urinating that lasts beyond what you or your doctor expect
Increased blood clots in your urine
Chest pain or difficulty breathing
Persistent nausea or vomiting
New or unexpected symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). University of Florida Department of Urology website. Available at: http://urology.ufl.edu/patient-care/stone-disease/procedures/percutaneous-nephrolithotomy-pcnl. Accessed March 7, 2018.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy/nephrolithotripsy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_PNN. Accessed March 7, 2018.
Wong B. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy. The Hong Kong Medical Diary. 2010;14(10):14-17. Available at: http://www.fmshk.org/database/articles/04mb3_2.pdf. Accessed March 7, 2018.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.