URS or ureteroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure where a small telescope or ureteroscope is inserted into the ureter via the urethra to remove stones. Using a laser, the stones are broken down into smaller pieces. The grasping tools are then used to remove these fragments. The kidneys, lower and upper ureters, and URS all have very high success rates in removing stones. Only about 15% of cases might require additional treatment.
Before performing URS, the assessments are made through a couple of diagnostic tests, including:
- Imaging tests (X-ray, Abdominal Ultrasound, MRI), Blood Urea Nitrogen (BUN) test
- Blood Test
The goal of these assessments is to determine the size of the stone, the number of stones that must be removed, and their location. These tests also assist doctors in detecting any underlying diseases that may cause complications during the procedure. The urologists will proceed with the procedure only after carefully reviewing the test results.
Indications for URS include both diagnostic and therapeutic interventions for stone disease, strictures, and ureteric tumors in varying patient groups.
URS is an outpatient procedure, which means that patients usually go home the same day. The procedure is usually performed under general anesthesia, but in some cases, regional anesthesia can be used successfully. To prevent infection, a preoperative antibiotic is typically administered. The procedure can last anywhere from 20 minutes for small uncomplicated stones to one (1) hour or longer for larger, more complicated stones.
A urethral stent is a soft hollow tube that acts like a straw to allow urine to pass from the kidney down the ureter into the bladder. A stent is frequently placed into your ureter at the end of a URS. Stents are placed for a variety of reasons, all to help keep the ureter open after the procedure.
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