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A diagnostic procedure to investigate problems with your urinary tract

Flexible ureteroscope used in a ureteroscopy diagnostic procedure
Ureteroscopy is a minimally invasive procedure that allows our specialists to diagnose and treat conditions in the urinary tract, such as kidney stones, blockages and other abnormalities.

During the procedure, a thin, flexible tube with a camera and light on the end (called a ureteroscope) is inserted through the urethra and bladder and into the ureter, which is the tube that carries urine from the kidneys to the bladder. During a ureteroscopy, your consultant will be able to identify problems, some of which can be treated during the same procedure. The ureteroscope can also be used to collect tissue samples for further testing.

If you're experiencing urinary tract issues and want to discover the cause, a private ureteroscopy may be the solution you need. Contact us today to schedule your initial consultation and take the first step towards a healthier, happier you. Call or book online and you could have your initial consultation in as little as 48 hours.

If you're experiencing any of the following symptoms, a ureteroscopy may be recommended by your doctor:

  • Blood in the urine
  • Painful urination
  • Frequent urination
  • Inability to urinate or fully empty the bladder
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Kidney stones
  • Abnormal growths or tumours in the urinary tract

These symptoms can be indicative of a variety of conditions, and a ureteroscopy can help your doctor diagnose and treat the underlying issue. If you're experiencing any of these symptoms, schedule a consultation with a specialist to discuss whether a ureteroscopy is right for you.

A ureteroscopy is used to diagnose and treat a variety of problems in the urinary tract. Some of the most common conditions that a ureteroscopy is used for include:

Kidney stones

Ureteroscopy can be used to remove small kidney stones or to break up larger stones so they can be passed naturally.

Ureteral strictures

This is a narrowing of the ureter that can lead to urinary tract infections, kidney damage, and other complications. Ureteroscopy can be used to remove the blockage and widen the ureter.

Bladder tumours

Ureteroscopy can be used to detect and remove tumours or growths in the bladder.

Ureteral polyps

These are growths on the inner lining of the ureter that can cause pain and discomfort. Ureteroscopy can be used to find and remove them.

Recurrent urinary tract infections

If you have frequent urinary tract infections, your doctor may recommend a ureteroscopy to identify the underlying cause.

If you are experiencing any symptoms related to these conditions, it is important to speak with your doctor. They can help you determine if a ureteroscopy is the right course of action for you.

During your initial consultation at Circle Health Group, your specialist (usually a consultant urologist) will make a thorough investigation of your symptoms, taking a detailed medical history and perhaps performing a short physical examination.

In some instances they will be able to make a diagnosis before the ureteroscopy, however in other cases the procedure will be necessary in order for them to confirm the cause of your symptoms. A ureteroscopy is used in many different ways to treat a wide variety of problems.

If they think this is the right treatment for you, they will explain why, talking you through all the benefits as well as the alternative options. Together you will decide on a treatment plan that is bespoke to your individual needs.

A ureteroscopy is typically performed under general anaesthetic. This means you will be asleep and feel no pain during the procedure.

The duration of the procedure varies depending on the reason for the ureteroscopy. A routine diagnostic procedure may take around 30 minutes, while a more complex surgery may take longer.

During the operation, a thin tube with a camera attached to the end (called a ureteroscope) is inserted into your urethra, through your bladder and into your ureter. The camera sends images to a screen, allowing your surgeon to examine your ureter, kidney, and bladder. If a blockage or abnormality is found, surgical instruments can be passed through the ureteroscope to remove it.

Recovering from a ureteroscopy

Some people will be able to go home the same day, while others will need to stay overnight in hospital.

After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort or blood in your urine for a few days. Your doctor may prescribe pain medication or antibiotics to help with any discomfort or prevent infection. It is essential to follow your doctor's instructions for recovery, including avoiding heavy lifting or strenuous activity for several days after the procedure.

You should also drink plenty of water to help flush your urinary system. Your doctor will discuss with you any specific recovery instructions based on your individual case.

If you're considering a ureteroscopy, it's important to understand the potential risks and complications associated with the procedure. While ureteroscopy is generally considered safe, as with any surgical procedure, there are always potential risks involved.

Bleeding is a common complication of ureteroscopy. While most bleeding stops on its own, in rare cases, it may require additional treatment.

Any surgical procedure carries a risk of infection. Your doctor will take steps to minimise this risk, such as administering antibiotics before the procedure.

Ureteroscopy involves inserting a scope into the ureter, which can cause injury to the ureter or other nearby structures. In rare cases, surgery may be required to repair the injury.

In some cases, the ureteroscopy procedure may cause temporary urinary retention, or the inability to empty your bladder completely.

As with any procedure that involves anaesthesia, there is a risk of complications such as allergic reactions or breathing problems.

Is ureteroscopy a major surgery?

Ureteroscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is considered safe and routine and would be considered a minor surgery. It is usually performed under general anaesthetic and involves the use of a small camera to examine the inside of the ureter and kidney. The procedure is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and patients can usually return home the same day.

How much does a ureteroscopy cost?

The cost of a ureteroscopy can vary depending on a number of factors, including the location of the procedure, the type of anaesthesia used, and any additional tests or treatments that may be required. At Circle Health Group, we aim to provide transparent pricing for all of our procedures, and our team can provide you with a detailed cost estimate before your procedure. Just give us a call for more information.

Is ureteroscopy painful?

Ureteroscopy is typically performed under general anaesthetic, so you should not feel any pain during the procedure itself. However, it is common to experience some discomfort or pain in the hours and days following the procedure, including pain or burning during urination, and mild discomfort in the lower abdomen. Our team will provide you with advice on how to manage any discomfort you may experience, and what painkillers you should take if you need them.

Can ureteroscopy cause erectile dysfunction?

Ureteroscopy is a procedure that is designed to treat problems with the ureter and kidney, and it is not typically associated with erectile dysfunction. However, like any surgical procedure, there are some risks and potential complications that should be considered. Your consultant will discuss these risks with you before your procedure.

Do you need a stent after ureteroscopy?

In some cases, a stent may be inserted during the ureteroscopy procedure to help keep the ureter open and improve urine flow. The stent is typically removed several days after the procedure, and the removal process can be uncomfortable. Your consultant will discuss whether a stent is required as part of your treatment plan, and will provide you with guidance on how to manage any discomfort or pain that you may experience during the stent removal process.

When you choose to go private with Circle Health Group, you can expect:

  • Flexible appointment times and locations to fit your routine
  • The freedom to choose which hospital and consultant suit your needs
  • Personalised, consultant-led treatment plans tailored to your individual needs
  • Comfortable and safe private facilities maintained by expert multidisciplinary teams
  • Private ensuite rooms as standard and delicious healthy meals
  • Affordable, fixed-price packages with aftercare included
  • Flexible payment options to help you spread the cost of your care

If you would like to learn more about ureteroscopy treatment, book your appointment online today or call a member of our team directly.

Content reviewed by Circle in-house team in March 2023. Next review due March 2026.

  1. Ureteroscopy, National Kidney Foundation
  2. What Is Ureteroscopy?, WebMD
  3. Cystoscopy & Ureteroscopy, NIH
  4. Ureteroscopy, Cleveland Clinic
  5. Why is ureteroscopy necessary?, NHS The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals
  6. Ureteroscopy and Laser Lithotripsy, UF Health
  7. Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy, Macmillan Cancer Support

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