percutaneous nephrolithotomy complications
what are percutaneous nephrolithotomy risks ?
Most procedures have possible side-effects. But, although the complications listed below are well recognised, most patients do not suffer any problems.
- Problems relating to the anaesthetic: such as a chest infection. More information about anaesthetic and the risks associated with it is included in the leaflet Having an anaesthetic. If you do not have a copy, please ask us for one.
- Problems relating to the surgery: deep vein thrombosis or DVT (blood clot in the legs), a pulmonary embolus (blood clot in the lung), stroke or heart attack.
- Bleeding: in or around the kidney. Some bleeding is normal; rarely it may be significant enough to require a blood transfusion (in less than five out of every 100 patients). If the bleeding does not stop, you may need an angiogram to block the blood vessel that is bleeding
- Infection: because some stones have bacteria trapped within them, we give you antibiotics routinely to prevent infection after the operation.
- Bowel perforation: there is a possibility of damaging the bowel during the operation. However, this is rare and happens in less than one out of every 100 patients.
- Injury to the lung cavity: there is a small chance of pockets of air or fluids forming around a lung if the needle is inserted toward the upper portion of the kidney (this will have been decided by your surgeon depending on where the stones are). These pockets are treated with a chest tube, which allows the fluid to drain from around the lung.
- Fluid build-up: sometimes urine can leak from the kidney, resulting in a small collection of fluid inside the abdomen (tummy). If this becomes a large collection, it may need draining which is usually done in the x-ray department.
- Retained fragments: sometimes not all the stones are removed and these may need further treatment. Rarely, a stent is inserted during the procedure and left in place. If it has a string attached, it is removed within 24 to 48 hours; if it does not have a string attached, it can be removed within six weeks