Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) | Tampa General Hospital

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy 

One of the treatment options for kidney stones is percutaneous nephrolithotomy, which is often used for stones that can’t be eliminated through other treatments. Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and acid salts that form in concentrated urine and can cause significant pain as they pass through the urinary tract. Though the body is able to pass many smaller stones on its own, larger stones can become lodged in the kidneys or ureters and need to be removed through medical intervention. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is an option for larger stones, stones that are located in challenging areas and branched stones that block a large part of the kidney.  

What Are the Benefits of Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy? 

There are several benefits of percutaneous nephrolithotomy when compared to open surgery to remove kidney stones.  

They include: 

  • Less pain following surgery 
  • Fewer complications due to the minimally invasive nature of percutaneous nephrolithotomy 
  • A faster return to normal activities 

Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy Details 

The PCNL procedure is performed with the patient under general anesthesia. A small incision is made in the patient’s back and a sheath is inserted into the kidney. A small camera called a nephroscope is fed through the sheath to locate the stones so they can be removed. A tube or stent may be inserted at the end of the procedure to help urine drainage and encourage healing.  

What to Expect With Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy 

Patients usually remain hospitalized for one to two days following the procedure and need to avoid heavy lifting and strenuous exercise for two to four weeks. If a drainage tube was inserted, it will need to be monitored for bleeding until it is removed by the doctor.  

How Effective Is Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy? 

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy enjoys a success rate of close to 97%, making it a highly effective treatment option. It also offers a better success rate for removing larger and more complex kidney stones than some other treatment options.  

The urology team at Tampa General Hospital provides both surgical and non-surgical treatment for urology problems, as well as a number of advanced diagnostic testing options. We work closely with each patient to help them make the most informed decisions about their urological health care.