How do I choose which surgery to have for my kidney stones?

Understanding what is the best option for treating your kidney stone can be difficult. In our new chart, we summarize the benefits and drawbacks of each surgical option. While it still won’t make the decision for you, it can help you to make an informed decision when talking to your urologist. For more detailed information and videos, see our treatment pages.

We always welcome feedback. Let us know if you have suggestions to improve the chart by leaving a comment below.

About Dr. Mike Nguyen

Mike M Nguyen, MD, MPH, is a urologist and an Associate Professor of Clinical Urology at the Keck School of Medicine of USC in Los Angeles, CA. He specializes in the treatment of kidney stones with both surgery and dietary prevention and the in the treatment of kidney and prostate cancer using the latest robotic surgical approaches. He sees patients at clinics located in Los Angeles, Pasadena, and La Canada, CA. He is the founder of the www.KidneyStoners.org website.
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54 Responses to How do I choose which surgery to have for my kidney stones?

  1. Surya pratap singh says:

    Hello sir ,i have kidney stone of size 1cm in upper ureter .i want to know that is it necessary for operation or medicine are sufficient

  2. Robert says:

    Hi I have a 12mm renal stone in my right kidney and on my left side kidney I have a lower polar cyst lesson . What are these ? and what surgery would I be receiving.

  3. Jeannie says:

    Don’t freak out, it’s not that painful. Having my IV started was the worst part of the entire experience. The first time I was on here I was looking for information on what to expect, everything I read sent me further into panic mode and my anxiety level was at a 10. I am writing to let those who are going through or getting ready to go through this experience for the first time to know, it’s not that bad. My anxiety was worse than the actual procedure, recovery time and stent removal combined. I did water aerobics twice while I had my stent in place, granted I did modify my routine somewhat, but I was able to get out there and excerise.
    I have had two ureterscopy and cystoscopy with double j stent placement done within the last 6 weeks. The first was to remove a 5.4mm in my ureter, a 6.5mm and 5.4mm with the scraping of the walls of the right kidney to remove beginning stones
    with a double j stent placement. The second was to remove a 15mm stone in my left kidney, however when my Urologist was there he found two other stones between 4
    5mm, with others beginning. He took care of all those however, the15mm stone was unable to be removed, it was in one of the”pockets” of the kidney and will grow until that pocket is filled up. As long as I am having no problems, we will leave that stone alone. Again, a double j stent as been put into place. I am post-op 4 days now, having mild, very very mild periodic cramping at times.
    Yes, I have to say the first time you urinate after surgery, there is minimal burning, but that was the worst of it. Especially considering that you are still under the effects of general anesthia…it’s nothing. Since the first time urinating I have had no burning, but continue to have cranberry colored urine from the procedure, which is normal. I have experienced cramping, no worst than menstural cramps. The removal of the stent is a cake walk. I experienced no pain at all, just a feeling of pressure that lasted maybe 3 seconds.
    I am writing to let those out there getting ready to experience one or both of these procedures, it’s is not bad, and you are going to breeze right through this with no problem.

    • Beth says:

      Thank you very much for this information. It’s really helpful especially for a first timer like me. Praying for your fast recovery. God bless.

  4. bebe says:

    I had laser lithography in February this year but still feeling mild pain and back pain. lvu results show no stones, please your response is highly appreciated. even though the Doctor did not put stent during the procedure.

  5. rishi kumar. says:

    i have only one stone/caculi of 6.6mm in the mid pole of left kidny since 2009.it has not moved from mid pole since then.one doctor advised for lithotripsy.is it neccessary to go for lithotripsy ?.no notable pain so far

  6. Bhavesh Thakker says:

    i have stone at my left or right side but leftside i have operation yesterday so dj stent recently put inside so its possible to right side on lithotripsy esl process?

  7. bharti singh says:

    I m 17 mm kidney stone in a raight side
    i advice to Dr pls tell me
    and i m pragancy reciveded in a 7 week
    Dr. Pls tell me my salution
    ki muje kya karna chahiye
    pls tell me ans

  8. Irfan Ahmed says:

    I have a 13 mm stone slipped from kidney and travelling towards bladder. Doctors have suggested URS. Is there any other way? Is URS painful? Is there any side effects I.e. infection ect.?

  9. RAJ PATEL says:

    Dr. Iam having 17mm kidney stone in side it pain me back n in blader heavy what should I do go for surgery or medicine pls advice me

  10. ishant says:

    Sir 11.5 mm stone is in Left Kidney PUJ Region is it will be pass easily or surgery is required if yes then which ?

  11. Rich says:

    Have had two stents for stones. While the stent may be unconfortable, passing of the stones is painless down to the bladder. Placing of a stent is painless as anesthesia is used, removal of a stent is a very quick procedure which should be done under anesthesia.

  12. Zivia says:

    Have had litho twice, stones still in kidney but smaller. Was going to leave it, but u can’t get travel insurance, so I am considering surgery, but afraid odd stint horror stories. I can leave them and zap them again if they grow. Just afraid of them leaving kidney and travelling. Have had side and upper back pain, on and off

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