A new technique for the removal of kidney stones is now being used in the UK at select hospitals. The ultra-mini percutaneous nephrolithotomy (UMP/ultra-mini PCNL) is a minimally-invasive technique which can be used to treat large, complex, or multiple stones. Consultant urologist Mr Andrew Ballaro now regularly performs the procedure both in his NHS and private practice as a day-case procedure. Here he explains how the procedure is performed, and what benefits it can bring to the patient.
What is ultra-mini PCNL?
Ultra-mini percutaneous nephrolithotomy (UMP) was developed in India and has recently been brought to the UK. Developed using new technology, and with patient recovery time in mind, it involves the insertion of a fine tube into the kidney through a 3mm incision in the skin of the back. A laser is then used to fragment the stone, and the fragments are washed out through the tube using a special irrigation system. This enables even quite large stones to be removed safely, completely and efficiently without needing to dilate the ureter (tube draining urine from the kidney to the bladder) or to leave a ureteric stent, which can very uncomfortable.
What are the benefits of ultra-mini PCNL?
- Ultra-mini PCNL significantly reduces blood loss (meaning there is less need of blood transfusion), the risk of damaging kidney blood vessels, and the post-operative length of stay compared to standard procedures.
- UMP avoids the need for uncomfortable ureteric stents (a thin tube inserted into the ureter to prevent or help treat obstruction of urine flow).
- There is less recovery time with this procedure; Mr Ballaro performs the UMP as a day case.
- People go back to normal activity more quickly.
Who is a candidate for the ultra-mini PCNL procedure?
Any patient with a significant sized kidney stone. The procedure may be recommended in those who have large kidney stones, especially in the ureter, or kidney stones which block more than one branch of the collecting duct system in the kidney.
You can book an appointment to discuss the UMP/ultra-mini PCNL procedure with Mr Ballaro here.