Kidney Stone Removal Summary

Kidney stone removal is done during a procedure called a nephrectomy. This procedure removes all or part of your kidney. You also may have lymph nodes and adrenal glands removed during the procedure.

Kidney stones can cause pain, infection, bleeding and kidney damage. When kidney stones are uncontrolled through medication or shock wave therapy a doctor may consider removing using the nephrectomy procedure to remove them. This is a serious medical procedure that is done in a hospital under general anesthesia.

Length of the procedure:  3 hours

Hospital Stay:  Most patents are hospitalized for about 7 to 10 days following a kidney stone removal surgery.

Recovery before traveling home: Patients seeking a kidney stone removal surgery through medical tourism can return home within 1 to 2 weeks of their procedure.

Travel Tip:  Discharge after this procedure can vary, and is based upon healing. It is best to plan for a longer stay or travel on a flexible schedule.

Procedure Details

Your surgery will begin with the administration of general anesthesia. The surgical site will be prepped with a sterile drape and an antiseptic liquid. Unless you are having a laparoscopic procedure you will be lying on your side during the surgery.

The surgeon will make an incision either on your side just below your ribs or on your front just below your ribs. The incision will be about 12 inches long. The ureter and blood vessels are separated from the kidney and all or part of the kidney is removed. The incision is then closed with stitches or staples.

During a laparoscopic kidney removal surgery the surgeon will make 3 to 4 small cuts in the abdomen. They will use probes and a camera to perform the surgery through the small incisions. At the end of the procedure the surgeon will lengthen one of the smaller incisions to about 4 inches so they can remove the kidney.

After the Procedure

After the procedure you will be taken to recovery. Your vitals will be monitored carefully during this time. It is normal for you to feel disoriented for the first 24 hours post-op. When you have recovered from anesthesia and your vitals are stable you will be moved to a regular hospital room.

Pain after this procedure is common and will be controlled with prescription pain medication. Most patients find that it takes 7 to 10 days to be pain free after kidney stone removal surgery.

You will be encouraged to sit and walk within 24 hours of your surgery. However, for the first month following your procedure you will be restricted to light activity. It takes about two months to recover and return to normal and strenuous activity.


The outcome of this procedure depends largely on whether all or part of the kidney was removed. When all or just part of one kidney is removed patients usually recover well. However, if both kidneys are removed or the kidney that is left is weak or not functioning properly the patient may need a kidney transplant or dialysis in the future.

Risks and Complications

As is with any surgery there are risks associated with kidney stone removal surgery. The following is a list of the most common risks and complications:

  • Reaction to anesthesia or medication
  • Blood clots
  • Pulmonary embolism
  • Breathing problems
  • Infection
  • Post-op pneumonia
  • Blood loss
  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Organ injury
  • Kidney failure
  • Hernia

Contact your physician if:

  • Temperature above 100.5 degrees
  • Bleeding
  • Warmth of surgical wound
  • Discharge of surgical wound is bloody, green, yellow, thick, milky or foul smelling
  • Belly swells
  • Belly pain
  • Persistent nausea
  • Pain not responding to pain medication
  • Persistent cough
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Inability to urinate
  • Lack or appetite or lack of thirst