How to Remove Bladder Stones


Bladder stones form when mineral deposits collect in your urinary tract. They usually end up in the bladder. They can start as small as grains of sand and grow into the size of a small pebble. Stones are harmful because they can block the passage of urine and cause pain, infection and bleeding. In the case of the bladder, stones are usually made of calcium salts. According to the National Kidney Foundation, 90 percent of stones can pass through the urinary tract without a problem, but for the other 10 percent, the following methods are used to remove bladder stones.

Things You'll Need

  • Local or general anesthetic
  • Lubricant
  • Cytoscope
  • Saline solution
  • Biopsy needle
  • Catheter
  • X-ray and ultrasound machine
  • Tub or cushion
  • Water

Cytoscopic Removal

Tell your doctor whether you are taking aspirin, ibuprofen or any other medications.

If your doctor is going to administer a regional or general anesthetic, do not eat anything for four hours before the procedure.

The doctor will administer the appropriate anesthetic and lubricate the urethra.

The doctor will pass a cytoscope (sometimes attached with a camera) into your urethra to your bladder and can administer a saline solution to view the bladder walls more clearly.

Allow your doctor to insert any other instruments through the cytoscope to get a biopsy sample, remove the bladder stones, take pictures of the bladder wall, or apply a small electrical charge to reduce bleeding.

The doctor will drain the bladder of the saline solution and remove the cytoscope. Sometimes the doctor may leave in a catheter while you recover.

Lithotripsy Shock Wave Removal-2 methods

The doctor will administer anesthesia as needed and use one of the following methods to crush the stones.

Method 1: Sit in a tub of tepid water. You will be positioned so that X-ray or ultrasound devices are aimed precisely at the stones. Shock waves will pass through the body to crush the stones to smaller pieces. The pieces will then be passed through the urine.

Method 2: Lie on top of a cushion. The doctor will administer 1,000 to 2,000 shock waves to your body with the cushion in between. This procedure takes 45 minutes to one hour. The crushed stone particles will pass, ideally, through the urethra.

Surgical Removal

The doctor will administer general anesthesia.

The doctor will make an incision in the patient's lower back of abdomen.

The doctor will remove the stone.

Tips & Warnings

  • Drink plenty of water. The New York Times Health Guide suggests six to eight glasses of water a day to cleanse your urinary tract. Diluting urine as such will decrease the chances of forming stones or help pass the existing stones.
  • The saline solution administered to the bladder during the cytoscopic procedure may give you the sensation to urinate. This may be uncomfortable. These procedures may cause initial burning during urination or may lead to infection. Do not be startled by blood in the urine following the lithotripsy procedure. This is a common side effect. The anesthetics may cause your bladder to swell or lead to urinary retention. You may also experience adverse effects to the anesthetic. You may develop scar tissue after any of the invasive procedures.

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