What will happen after the operation?
You will wake up in the recovery area in your bed and when the nurses are happy with your condition you will be taken back to the ward. You will have a stent in place, which may be secured to a catheter tube in the bladder. This is a very fine internal drain leading from the kidney.
You will find that on the first few days after surgery there is some discomfort when you pass water. If you have a catheter this will drain into a bag by the side of your bed and will be emptied by the ward staff. The catheter will be removed the day after your operation.
You may also have a drip in a vein in your arm. Depending on your progress and how you are feeling, you may be able to leave hospital on the same day. Most patients spend the night in hospital following surgery and leave the following morning. The urologist may request a further x-ray to ensure that there are no remaining stone fragments. You will receive an outpatient review appointment .If you have a stent you will be given a date to be admitted as a day case for this to be removed.
What problems may occur?
Complications following ureteroscopy are unusual. The most common problem is with urine infection and you will receive antibiotics at the time of the operation in order to prevent this.
In a small percentage of cases it can prove impossible to pass the operating telescope up the ureter, particularly if the ureter is very narrow. In this situation an internal stent may be placed and the procedure repeated after several weeks. There is a small risk of scarring and narrowing of the ureter tube following this procedure.
Is the operation always successful?
The success rate of ureteroscopy depends on the size and location of the stone. Stones at the bottom end of the ureter are easier to treat and those near the kidney are the most difficult to treat. The aim of treatment is to remove all stone fragments and this is possible in about 75% of cases. If we cannot remove all of the stone fragments at one treatment you may be asked to return for either repeat ureteroscopy or shock wave treatment (lithotripsy).
What can I do to prevent further stones?
The best general advice is to drink plenty of fluids. You should aim to produce at least two litres of urine every day. Your stone will be sent for analysis and depending on your stone, other treatment may be appropriate. If you get recurrent stones, further detailed investigation such as a 24-hour urine collection may be appropriate. The doctors will advise you further.