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What is Retrograde Intra-Renal Surgery (RIRS)?

Retrograde Intra-Renal Surgery (RIRS) is a procedure to remove stones without making any incisions on the kidney while using a laser with a viewing tube called a fiberoptic endoscope.

How is RIRS surgery performed?

Before procedure:

The doctor will perform a complete check-up to ascertain the position of the stone and the general health condition of the patient.


RIRS is performed by a specialized urologist who is well trained in RIRS. The procedure is done under general or spinal anaesthesia using a flexible ureteroscope and laser.

In RIRS the scope is placed through the urethra (the urinary opening) into the bladder and then through the ureter into the urine collecting part of the kidney. The scope then moved retrograde, i.e., up the urinary tract system to within the kidney (intra-renal).

Once the scope is placed, the surgeon can see the stone through the scope and it can be crushed by an ultrasound probe, evaporated by a laser probe, or grabbed by forceps or basket.

This minimally invasive urology procedure is generally considered for patients with

  • Kidney stones if they have a contraindication for SWL or percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNCL), such as the presence of a bleeding diathesis.
  • Strictures in the kidney
  • Tumors in the kidney
  • Kidney stones in children
  • Morbid obesity
  • Musculoskeletal deformities

What are the advantages of RIRS?

The advantages of choosing RIRS over open surgery are:

  • RIRS for stone extraction is quicker than traditional open surgery.
  • Quick relief from prolonged pain,
  • Speedy recovery
  • There will be very minimal bleeding and the renal tissue is free of damage.
  • This is a safe retrograde endoscopic procedure to treat renal calculi.
  • RIRS also produces better clearance of kidney stones.

What kind of care is to be taken post-surgery?

Many patients resume their normal activities within 2-3 days after surgery. Drink a lot of water to flush out any small pieces of stone. The doctor may prescribe a medicine called alpha-blocker to make it easier to pass the pieces of stone.

Is RIRS safe?

RIRS is a safe and efficient method for kidney stone treatment of patients who had a previous history of open surgery, percutaneous nephrolithotomy, and retrograde intrarenal surgery.