What is a ureteroscopy?
A ureteroscopy is an outpatient procedure most commonly done to treat stones in the ureters (the tubes that connect the bladder to the kidneys) or kidney. It may also be used to evaluate and treat other causes of kidney blockage or blood in the urine.
A ureteroscopy is done with a ureteroscope, a long, thin tube that has an eyepiece on one end and a tiny lens and a light on the other end. In general, there are two ways to perform ureteroscopy for stones:
- If the stone is small, your doctor will insert a scope into the ureter to remove the stone. The type of scope used in this procedure will have a small basket at the end of a wire that is run through an extra channel in the ureteroscope. The basket is used to collect the stone.
- In cases when the stone is larger, your doctor will extend a flexible fiber through the scope up to the stone. With a laser beam shining through the scope, the doctor will break the stone into pieces small enough to be passed out of the body with urine.
Based on the location, size, and what the stone is made of, your doctor will determine the best ureteroscopy treatment option for you.
Why do I need to have a ureteroscopy?
Your doctor may suggest a ureteroscopy if you have one or more of the following conditions:
- Stones in the kidney or ureter.
- Blood in the urine.
- Unusual cells in a urine sample.
- Scarring of the ureter.
- A growth, polyp, tumor, or cancer in the ureter.
Am I a good candidate for a ureteroscopy?
If you have a ureteral stone close to the bladder, especially in the lower half of the ureter, then ureteroscopy is the most effective type of treatment. Ureteroscopy is also a good option for pregnant women, obese patients, and those who suffer from a blood clotting disorder.