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What Is RIRS Surgery?

Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery, commonly known as RIRS, is a retrograde ureteroscopic technique for extracting kidney stones. In this procedure, surgeons make the urethra the pathway to reach the kidneys. It is a minimally invasive technique that involves no cuts or holes. The surgeons use an optic endoscope to reach the kidneys and locate the stones and then use a laser to reduce the stones to dust. This technique is generally used in cases of large or complex stones that lithotripsy can’t treat. RIRS has high success rates, and the risk of complications is close to zero. 


What Happens During RIRS Surgery


Before performing RIRS, the surgeons recommend some diagnostic tests which help them assess several factors, including the size and location of the stones, underlying diseases, and the patient’s overall health. All the patients need to have the test results with them on the day of the surgery. The commonly performed diagnostic tests before RIRS are : 

  • Imaging tests (KUB X-Ray, abdominal ultrasound, MRI)
  • Blood urea nitrogen (BUN) test
  • Blood test
  • Urinalysis


RIRS is performed in the following steps: 

The patient is given anesthesia which keeps them sedated throughout the surgery. The doctor can use spinal or general anesthesia for this procedure, based on the patient’s preference. 

In the next step, the surgeon inserts an endoscope, which is a long and flexible tube, into the urethra to reach the urine-collecting part of the kidneys. This is an x-ray-guided procedure, and the doctors can see the images externally on a screen. This allows the surgeon to perform the procedure with more precision. 

The endoscope is then moved upwards in retrograde towards the kidneys to locate the stones. Upon locating the stones, the surgeons use a laser probe to break the kidney stones and reduce them into fine fragments. 

The broken fragments are then collected in a ‘stone basket’ and ultimately extracted through the same passageway. 

Double J-Stunting in RIRS 

The surgeons may use double J stents- ureteral stents placed in the ureter before or after the surgery. In some cases, the stents are placed before the surgery to dilate the ureter to allow the endoscope to pass easily during the procedure. In other cases, the stent is placed after the surgery for 7 to 10 days to promote healing.

How to take care after RIRS kidney stone surgery?

The total recovery period after RIRS is generally quite short, and most patients can resume work and their day-to-day tasks within a day or two of the surgery. Since this procedure does not involve any cuts or stitches, the risk of complications is also minimal. Here are some tips that can help you recover quickly and avoid complications after RIRS: 

  • Increase your consumption of water. 
  • Eat food that’s rich in fiber. 
  • Avoid eating food that’s too spicy or contains high animal protein for a few weeks post surgery. 
  • Refrain from indulging in heavy workouts. However, don’t avoid working out altogether.
  • If you experience any abnormal symptoms, get in touch with your doctor immediately. 


What Are The Benefits of RIRS surgery?

RIRS is an advanced treatment technique for kidney stones with a high success rate. Listed below are some common benefits of RIRS:

  • It is a minimally invasive procedure that involves no cuts or stitches.
  • The procedure is painless and doesn’t cause very little blood loss. 
  • The recovery is quick and hassle-free.
  • The patients can get back to their day-to-day lives within a couple of days. 
  • This technique causes no harm to the renal tissue. 
  • The morbidity rate is very low. 



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