Endourologic laser treatment of renal and ureteral stones in Dubai is an effective and safe procedure to remove painful calculi stuck in the ureters and kidneys. As the name suggests, this treatment uses lasers for the stone removal, ensuring minimal invasiveness of the procedure.
Before elaborating on URS and RIRS treatment, let’s first discuss ureteral and renal stones, their types, and their diagnosis.
Table of Contents
What are Ureteral and Renal Stones?
The kidneys’ primary function is to filter out urinary wastes from the blood and move those wastes to the bladder through tubes called ureters. Sometimes, the lack of fluids in the blood can cause substances in those wastes to accumulate and form calculi, also known as kidney stones. While these stones usually develop inside the kidneys, their formation can take place anywhere along the urinary tract. Parts of the urinary tract where kidney stones can form include:
Kidney stones belong to the category of most painful medical conditions. The causes of these stones vary based on the stone type.
Types of Kidney Stones
Kidney stones develop as a result of the formation of crystallized structures, which are of different types. Thus, not all kidney stones are created equal. Here is a brief overview of kidney stone types.
- Calcium: This most common type of kidney stone usually consists of calcium oxalate. Sometimes, these stones are made of calcium maleate or phosphate.
- Uric acid: Kidney stones consisting of uric acid are more common in men than women. These stones usually develop in people with gout or those undergoing chemotherapy. Uric acid stones are formed primarily due to higher urine acidity.
- Struvite: This kidney stone is most common in women experiencing urinary tract infections. Generally, struvite stones are a result of kidney infections. These stones are large enough to cause urinary obstruction. The best way to prevent the formation of these stones is to treat the underlying condition.
- Cystine: Cystine stones are common in men and women suffering from cystinuria, a genetic condition. These stones usually develop as a result of cystine leaking from the kidneys into the urine.
Kidney Stones Risk Factors
One of the most significant risk factors for ureteral and renal stones is the kidneys’ inability to generate one liter of urine per day. Hence, these stones are quite common among infants with kidney issues. However, kidney stones mainly develop in people aging between 20 and 50 years.
Another quite common risk factor for kidney stones is sex – men are usually more at risk of developing these stones than women. Also, you are more likely to develop a kidney stone if you have had it in the past.
Other most common risk factors for ureteral and renal stones are:
- A diet rich in salts, glucose, or proteins
- Inflammatory bowel diseases
- Taking calcium-based antacids
Signs and symptoms
The most common sign of a kidney stone is severe pain. Generally, symptoms of these stones occur when the stone starts moving down the ureter. The pain associated with this movement is called renal colic, which usually happens on one side of your abdomen or back.
This pain usually radiates to the groin region in men. While renal colic can be intermittent, it is generally intense. In most cases, this pain causes restlessness.
Other signs and symptoms associated with kidney stones are:
- Blood in urine
- Foul smell in urine
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Inability to urinate a large amount of urine
Small kidney stones usually cause little to no pain when moving down the ureter.
Your doctor will assess your complete health history and perform a physical exam to diagnose kidney stones. They may also run other tests, such as:
- Blood test for uric acid, calcium, or phosphorus
- Assessment of creatinine and blood urea nitrogen to check kidney functions
- Analysis of passed out kidney stones to determine their form
Your doctor will also want to rule out the obstruction with the following tests:
- Retrograde pyelogram
- Abdominal x-rays
- MRI scan
- CT scan
- Intravenous pyelogram (IVP)
Treatment with URS and RIRS
Among many other options to treat kidney stones, ureteroscopy has become more prevalent in recent years. Generally classified into URS and RIRS, ureteroscopy involves using an endoscopic tube equipped with a camera, a laser module, and a so-called basket. The surgeon inserts this tube into the ureter to view, destroy, and remove kidney stones in the ureters and kidneys.
The two main classes of ureteroscopy – URS and RIRS – are distinguishable based on their treatment areas. URS or basic ureteroscopy helps track, destroy, and remove stones and other urinary abnormalities in the ureters. On the other hand, RIRS or retrograde intrarenal surgery involves moving the ureteroscope through the ureters into the kidneys to find and fix issues.
Preparing for the Procedure
The pre-op preparation for ureteroscopy doesn’t involve too many considerations. You will have to urinate before the procedure at the time recommended by your nurse or doctor.
The medical staff will also give you instructions regarding when to stop eating, drinking, and taking medicines before treatment. This step is crucial because if you are on blood thinners, you do not want to take those for some time before getting into the surgery room.
What to Expect?
First off, the urologist will administer anesthesia to put you to sleep before starting kidney stones treatment in Dubai. Once the anesthesia comes into effect, the urologist will insert the ureteroscope into the urethra and move it to the bladder. After that, they will release a sterile solution to help achieve better visibility of the inside of the urinary tract.
The complete observation of your urinary tract may take about 30 minutes, and the length of the entire procedure will depend on what’s involved in it. For instance, breaking up the stone adds to the treatment duration. The laser a typical ureteroscope uses to break up the kidney stone is known as a Holmium laser. After making the stone easily removable, the tip of the ureteroscope uses a tiny basket to grab and pull the stone fragments.
After the Procedure
The urologist will remove the ureteroscope and empty your bladder of the sterile liquid solution while you are still under the influence of anesthesia. The entire procedure can take one to four hours. The urologist may choose to insert a stent if your ureter is vulnerable to inflammation and subsequent stricture.
After the procedure, you may feel some pain and see a little blood in the urine when you pee. This discomfort usually subsides in 24 hours.
Schedule an Appointment
Ureteroscopy – which involves URS and RIRS – is your best bet if you are experiencing debilitating pain due to kidney stones. But remember, it is vital to choose a qualified urologist for kidney stones treatment in Dubai. At Dubai Cosmetic Surgery Clinic, we employ the best urologists to help you get rid of stones in your ureters and kidneys. So, schedule an appointment if you want to discuss your case.
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