Kidney stones can be very painful, sometimes requiring surgical or radiological intervention to remove them. About 10 to 20 per cent of all kidney stones require surgery, and a woman's recovery from the operation varies depending on the procedure used.
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Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
Surgeons use a PCNL procedure if a kidney stone is large or in an awkward place. It is a minor operation and therefore has a shorter recovery time than open surgery. After the operation, lifting or straining should be avoided. Women having this procedure also should keep moving around to avoid deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in their legs. Some doctors advise patients to stay home from work for up to four weeks.
Surgeons use a ureteroscopy if a kidney stone is stuck in a tube (ureter). With this procedure, a patient may receive a local or a general anesthetic, which can affect her recovery. With a general anesthetic, recovery takes longer.
Electric Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)
This type of procedure is the most common, using a machine to break up kidney stones into passable sizes so they can be passed in urine. ESWL uses a local rather than general anesthetic, which means it takes several hours for feeling to come back to the affected area, but women who have had this procedure have returned home the same day.
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