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Percutaneous Nephrolithotripsy

What is Percutaneous Nephrolithotripsy Treatment?

Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL) is a surgical procedure to remove medium to large kidney stones from the kidney. The procedure is done under general anesthesia. The doctor makes a small incision through the skin on the back, over the kidney. Through this incision, the doctor uses a tool to grasp and remove smaller stones from the kidney. Larger stones are broken up with a laser. The procedure usually takes about 45 minutes to an hour.

What to Expect

Your child will be admitted to the hospital after the procedure. While in the hospital your child will have an IV (soft, hollow tube placed in a vein) so they can get IV fluids for one-two days.

It is normal to have some blood in the urine for several days after having a PCNL. A small tube (catheter) will be in place to drain urine from the bladder. This catheter is removed after 24 hours. A nephrostomy tube (a drainage tube into the kidney) will be in place after the surgery. Your child may go home with the nephrostomy tube in place. You will be given instructions on how to change the dressing and care for the tube.

When to Call the Doctor

  • Fever 101.5° or higher
  • Severe nausea and vomiting
  • Pain not relieved by pain medication
  • Nephrostomy tube is leaking or not draining


  • Bleeding
  • Infection
  • Injury to surrounding organs


For more information, contact the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center’s Pediatric Stone Center at 513-803-7625.

Last Updated 08/2023

Reviewed By Renee Niehaus, RN
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