What are the Pros and Cons of Kidney Stone Surgery?

N. Madison
N. Madison

There are both pros and cons of kidney stone surgery. Among the pros are relief from painful or uncomfortable symptoms as well as the removal of kidney stones that are too large to pass on their own. Kidney stone surgery also provides the benefit of swift removal of stones that are complicating a patient’s health. As far as the cons are concerned, this type of surgery does have risks, such as excessive bleeding, and is associated with side effects, such as blood clots and infection. A person may also experience pain and discomfort during recovery, and surgery may not prevent a recurrence of kidney stones.

Kidney stones next to a ruler to show the size.
Kidney stones next to a ruler to show the size.

The main benefit of kidney stone surgery is the removal of the kidney stones. Kidney stones are often uncomfortable, and some people experience extreme pain while waiting for them to pass on their own or as the result of other medical treatments. Having kidney stone surgery can provide a faster relief of kidney stone pain. In most cases, this type of surgery makes it possible to remove the stones without causing permanent damage to the body.

A kidney with a kidney stone.
A kidney with a kidney stone.

Kidney stone surgery may also prove beneficial in complicated cases of kidney stones that are difficult to manage in other ways or are contributing to the development of other health problems. It is often the preferred method of treatment, for example, for kidney stones that are too large pass on their own. Surgery may also prove beneficial for treating kidney stones that are increasing in size. Likewise, this type of surgery may be beneficial when a kidney stone is impairing urine flow, contributing to infections, or increasing the risk of kidney damage.

An ultrasound can help doctors decide what course of action should be used to treat kidney stones.
An ultrasound can help doctors decide what course of action should be used to treat kidney stones.

Unfortunately, there are cons to kidney stone surgery as well. Among the cons are the risks of having kidney stone surgery. As with other types of surgery, a person risks excessive bleeding and adverse reactions to anesthesia with kidney stone surgery; blood clots, infections, and post-surgical pain are also among the risks and side effects. It is important to note, however, that the potential risks and side effects of surgery vary based on the type of surgery a person chooses. While some people have open surgery to remove kidney stones, there are minimally invasive surgeries that involve fewer risks and side effects.

The main benefit of kidney stone surgery is the quick removal of the kidney stones.
The main benefit of kidney stone surgery is the quick removal of the kidney stones.

Another con of the use of surgery for kidney stones is the fact that it cannot rid a person of kidney stones for the rest of his life. Kidney stones may return and require the patient to take steps to treat them once more. If the cause of the kidney stones is successfully treated in addition to the removal of the kidney stones, new stones are less likely to develop.

A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.
A urinalysis may be conducted to detect kidney stones.
As a kidney stone moves through the kidney towards the bladder, the stone can literally dig itself into the soft tissue of the kidney's tube.
As a kidney stone moves through the kidney towards the bladder, the stone can literally dig itself into the soft tissue of the kidney's tube.
N. Madison
N. Madison

Nicole’s thirst for knowledge inspired her to become a wiseGEEK writer, and she focuses primarily on topics such as homeschooling, parenting, health, science, and business. When not writing or spending time with her four children, Nicole enjoys reading, camping, and going to the beach.

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