Percutaneous urinary procedures

Definition

Percutaneous (through the skin) urinary procedures help drain urine from your bladder and get rid of kidney stones.

Alternative Names

Percutaneous nephrostomy; Percutaneous nephrostolithotomy; PCNL; Nephrolithotomy

Description

A percutaneous nephrostomy is the placement of a small, flexible rubber catheter (tube) through your skin into your kidney to drain your urine.

Percutaneous nephrostolithotomy (or nephrolithotomy) is the passing of a special medical instrument through your skin into your kidney. This is done to get rid of kidney stones.

Most stones pass out of the body on their own through urine. When they do not, your doctor may recommend these procedures.

During the procedure, you lie on your stomach on a table. You are given a shot of lidocaine. This is the same medicine your dentist uses to numb your mouth. The doctor or nurse may give you medicines to help you relax and reduce pain.

If you have nephrostomy only:

If you have percutaneous nephrostolithotomy (or nephrolithotomy):

The place where the nephrostomy catheter was inserted is covered with a dressing. The catheter itself is connected to a drainage bag.

Why the Procedure Is Performed

Reasons to have a percutaneous nephrostomy or nephrostolithotomy are:

Risks

Percutaneous nephrostomy and nephrostolithotomy are generally safe. Ask your doctor about these possible complications:

Before the Procedure

Tell your doctor or nurse:

On the day of the surgery:

After the Procedure

You are taken to the recovery room. You may be able to eat soon if you do not have an upset stomach.

You may be able to go home within 24 hours. If there are problems, your doctor may keep you in the hospital longer.

The doctor will take out the tubes if x-rays show that the kidney stones are gone and your kidney has healed. If stones are still there, you may have the same procedure again soon.

Outlook (Prognosis)

Percutaneous nephrostolithotomy or nephrolithotomy almost always help ease the symptoms of kidney stones. Often, the doctor is able to get rid of your kidney stones completely. Sometimes you  need to have other procedures to get rid of the stones.

Most people who are treated for kidney stones need to make lifestyle changes so that their bodies do not make new kidney stones. These changes include avoiding certain foods and not taking certain vitamins. Some people also have to take medicines to keep new stones from forming.

References

Matlaga BR, Lingeman JE. Surgical management of upperurinary tract calculi. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Novick AC, et al., eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 48.

Wen CC, Nakada SY. Treatment selection and outcomes: renal calculi. Urol Clin North Am. 2007;34(3):409-419.


Review Date: 12/12/2012
Reviewed By: Louis S. Liou, MD, PhD, Chief of Urology, Cambridge Health Alliance, Visiting Assistant Professor of Surgery, Harvard Medical School. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.
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