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USA Health University Urology now offers a minimally invasive procedure – mini percutaneous nephrolithotomy (mini PCNL) – for the treatment of kidney stones.

Published Feb 11th, 2020

By Lindsay Lyle
lalyle@health.southalabama.edu

USA Health University Urology now offers a minimally invasive procedure – mini percutaneous nephrolithotomy (mini PCNL) – for the treatment of kidney stones. Christopher Keel, D.O., and William Terry, M.D., are the only urologists on the Gulf Coast who perform the specialized endourological procedure.

Traditional PCNL has been the standard of care for the removal of kidney stones that are too large to pass on their own. In both traditional and mini PCNL, a radiologist uses ultrasound or X-rays to guide access to the kidney. Then, through a small incision in the patient’s back, the urologist inserts a sheath into the kidney that allows special instruments to break up and extract the stones.

While traditional PCNL usually requires a one- to two-day hospital stay, mini PCNL patients can often go home the same day. This is due, in part, to a one-step dilation process in which a single dilator can widen the port to allow the sheath to be advanced into the kidney. In addition, mini PCNL uses a smaller sheath and instruments, thereby requiring a smaller incision.

“By combining the kidney access with the stone treatment and removal procedures, what was once multi-day, multi-procedure process, becomes a one-day event,” Terry explained. “This, combined with the less invasive nature of the mini system, potentially decreases length of stay, length of recovery and overall cost.”

In addition, the smaller incision and smaller instruments translate to less pain and bleeding for the patient, Keel said.

Special training and equipment are needed to perform the mini PCNL procedure. “While most urologists are trained to perform PCNL in conjunction with a radiologist, special training is needed to gain access into the kidney and perform the procedure as an outpatient,” Keel said. “A special mini PCNL scope is required, and we now have one at University Hospital, enabling us to provide this specialized service to patients.”

To make an appointment at University Urology, call (251) 660-5930.

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