Kidney stones can cause pain, infection and blockage of the kidney. Obstruction of the kidney in the presence of infection will rapidly cause irreversible kidney damage. Interventional techniques include placing a tube in the kidney (nephrostomy) to allow the urine to drain and removing the stones using a variety of instruments placed through the skin into the kidney. Large kidney stones are best dealt with by creating a tunnel into the kidney through a small skin incision and then passing an endoscope directly into the kidney, breaking the stone with special instruments and pulling the fragments out (percutaneous nephrolithotomy - PCNL).
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