Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL or PNL) refers to a minimally invasive endoscopic treatment that is used for removing staghorn stones or large kidney stones or multiple stones in the upper ureter.
In this procedure, a puncture is created in the skin through the kidney to the stone and a telescopic port is inserted. No big incision is required for this surgery. A telescope known as a nephroscope is passed through this port into the kidney to disintegrate the stone and break it into pieces and to remove the debris from the stone. PCNL or PNL is performed under general anesthesia and real-time x-ray control called fluoroscopy. The surgery may last for 1 or 2 hours.
The prominent advantages of PNL or PCNL is:
- It eliminates the large skin incision caused by pervious kidney surgery for stones.
- It removes large incisions on the kidney or renal pelvis.
- Recovery and healing is faster when compared to other procedures.
- Hospital stay for a short period of time, for 2 or 3 days.
Percutaneous stone surgery may also be recommended in certain conditions where the ureter below one of the kidneys is obstructed or in ureteropelvic junction obstructions.