Kidney Stones Home > Surgery for Kidney Stones

Because they generally pass on their own without any treatment, kidney stones surgery is typically only recommended when other options have failed. The different types of surgery include extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy, percutaneous nephrolithotomy (tunnel surgery), and ureteroscopy. Today, major surgery is only required in the most difficult or complicated cases.

An Overview of Surgery for Kidney Stones

Most kidney stones will pass out of the body without any help. However, for people who require kidney stones treatment, several options can be tried before surgery is considered.
Surgery for kidney stones should only be used when other treatments have failed. Surgery may be needed if the stone:
  • Does not pass after a reasonable period of time and causes constant pain
  • Is too large to pass on its own or is caught in a difficult place
  • Blocks the flow of urine
  • Causes ongoing urinary tract infections
  • Damages kidney tissue or causes constant bleeding
  • Has grown larger (as seen on follow-up x-ray studies).
Surgery options for kidney stones include:
Treatment for kidney stones has greatly improved. Therefore, major surgery is often not required for the majority of kidney stones cases.
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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