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What is Endourology?

Endourology is a specialized branch of urology focusing on the closed manipulation of the urinary tract. It's revolutionized kidney stone treatment, employing minimally invasive techniques like lasers and tiny cameras. These advancements offer quicker recovery and less pain. Intrigued by how these procedures can improve patient care? Discover the vivid imagery and transformative impact of endourology in our detailed visual guide.
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Endourology is a term that broadly refers to various medical procedures used to diagnose and treat the formation of calculi stones in the urinary system. These procedures are performed by an endourologist, a urologist skilled in the use of specialized exploratory instruments with which to examine the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureter. In fact, this branch of medicine is so-named because its prefix "endo" means "internal," while "uro" refers to urine and "ology" to the study of. Likewise, the names of the procedures used in endourology end in "scope" or "scopy," which translates to "view." So, with the aid of scopes, the endourologist is able to see inside the body and gain access with precision surgical instruments capable of removing renal obstructions without making any incisions.

Most of these procedures do not require open surgery under general anesthesia in a traditional operating room, so they are referred to as endourology closed procedures. This simply means the patient doesn’t go under the knife. In fact, most people who undergo endourology urologic surgery are treated on an outpatient basis and can usually resume normal activities relatively quickly. Not every patient is a candidate for these minimally invasive surgical procedures, however. For instance, total obstruction, strictures greater than 0.79 inches (2 cm), or the presence of infection are some of the circumstances that are considered contraindications.

Endourology is medical procedures used to diagnose and treat the formation of calculi stones in the urinary system.
Endourology is medical procedures used to diagnose and treat the formation of calculi stones in the urinary system.

One of the most common procedures in endourology is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, which utilizes an imaging machine called a lithotriptor to target and break apart stones with projected shock waves. Once the stones have been shattered, the small pieces can safely be eliminated through urination. This procedure is limited to small stones, however. Another factor that may hinder success with this technique includes the location of the stones; stones positioned in certain regions of the kidney or bladder may resist being detected and targeted. Conversely, they may be successfully targeted, but the broken fragments may become trapped and cannot be passed through the urine.

Ureteroscopy is a procedure that can be used to address stones that are lodged in the ureter.
Ureteroscopy is a procedure that can be used to address stones that are lodged in the ureter.

Ureteroscopy is another endourological procedure that can address the above concerns, as well as stones that have been lodged in the ureter for any length of time. In addition, this procedure can sometimes make access to the kidney possible by using the ureters as a pathway. Other instruments used in conjunction with the ureteroscope to aid in the disintegration and removal of stones include impactors, graspers, lasers, and even tiny helical baskets in which to deposit and remove stone debris.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure that will require anesthesia.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure that will require anesthesia.

There are additional procedures used to target larger stones and those located in difficult areas, such as vesicolithotripsy and cystoscopy. The latter is particularly helpful in determining the cause of bleeding from the urinary tract. Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure that involves the use of needle catheters to deliver pneumatic pressure to break up stones. Unlike the other techniques described here, however, this procedure must be performed under general anesthesia.

Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to TheHealthBoard is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

Learn more...
Karyn Maier
Karyn Maier

Contributing articles to TheHealthBoard is just one of Karyn’s many professional endeavors. She is also a magazine writer and columnist, mainly for health-related publications, as well as the author of four books. Karyn lives in New York’s Catskill Mountain region and specializes in topics about green living and botanical medicine.

Learn more...

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    • Endourology is medical procedures used to diagnose and treat the formation of calculi stones in the urinary system.
      By: rob3000
      Endourology is medical procedures used to diagnose and treat the formation of calculi stones in the urinary system.
    • Ureteroscopy is a procedure that can be used to address stones that are lodged in the ureter.
      By: 7activestudio
      Ureteroscopy is a procedure that can be used to address stones that are lodged in the ureter.
    • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure that will require anesthesia.
      By: WavebreakMediaMicro
      Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure that will require anesthesia.
    • Endourology refers to issues pertaining to the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureter.
      By: joshya
      Endourology refers to issues pertaining to the kidneys, bladder, urethra, and ureter.
    • Frequent urinary tract infections may be a symptom of calculi stones in the urinary tract.
      By: Alexander Gospodinov
      Frequent urinary tract infections may be a symptom of calculi stones in the urinary tract.
    • Many endourology procedures require only regional anesthesia and can be performed on an outpatient basis.
      By: olly
      Many endourology procedures require only regional anesthesia and can be performed on an outpatient basis.