Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
What is it?
Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is the preferred technique for treating large stones (over 2cm in diameter) within the kidney. It involves keyhole surgery performed through a 1cm incision in the skin overlying the kidney (see diagram).
What are the advantages?
Allows large or complicated stones to be treated in a minimally invasive fashion, where in the past this would have necessitated a large skin incision.
Hospital stay is 3-4 days, and out of hospital recovery time is significantly shorter than traditional open surgery.
What are the disadvantages?
Compared to traditional treatments of large complex stones, there are no disadvantages. Improved techniques and equipment have allowed this type of surgery to be safer than ever before.