What Is Ureteroscopy?

If you have pain when you pee or possibly kidney stones, your doctor may want you to have a ureteroscopy. It’s a procedure to find -- and, in some cases, fix --problems in your urinary tract.

During ureteroscopy, your doctor inserts a thin, flexible scope into your bladder and ureter (the tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). This way she can look for kidney stones or other signs of trouble.

When Would I Get One?

A ureteroscopy is usually done when you have kidney stones in your ureter.

Kidney stones are pebble-like objects (but not real stones) made of minerals and salts found in urine. They form in a kidney, but can move down the ureter.

A urologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the urinary tract) may also recommend a ureteroscopy if she suspects a polyp, tumor or abnormal tissue somewhere in your urinary tract.

The doctor can also use the special scope to remove a stone, polyp, or a piece of tissue (a biopsy) for lab tests.

You may also get other tests if your doctor thinks you may have a urinary tract infection or a related problem. Some of them include:

  • Urine test to diagnose possible infections.
  • CT scan to diagnose kidney stones and identify their size and location.
  • MRI to provide detailed images of your kidneys, bladder, and other internal organs.

Who Needs a Ureteroscopy?

If you have undiagnosed urinary tract problems, such as urine blockage, a ureteroscopy can help identify the problem.

When you see a doctor because it hurts to pee and you’re not going as often as you should, you may or may not need this procedure. It will depend on your symptoms and what other tests show.

Doctors sometimes use ureteroscopy as part of shock wave lithotripsy, a treatment to break up kidney stones. This is most helpful for:

  • Women who are pregnant
  • People who are very overweight
  • People with blood-clotting problems.



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