Largest kidney stone surgically removed | Sunday Observer

Largest kidney stone surgically removed

18 June, 2023
Surgery under way
Surgery under way

A group of Sri Lankan army doctors recently managed to enter the Guinness Book of World Records after carrying out surgery to remove what turned out to be the largest kidney stone to be removed from a human.

The surgeons were able to remove the stone in its entirety without causing any harm to the patient’s kidney. While the surgery was carried out at the Army Hospital in Colombo, the patient is now recuperating at home.

Canistus with the kidney stone that made it into the Guinness Book

The main holders of these two Guinness Records are the head of the Genitourinary Department of the Colombo Army Hospital, Lt. Colonel (Dr.) K. Sutharshan, Captain (Dr.) W.P.S.C Pathiratne and Dr. Thamansha Premathilake. Retired Soldier Canistus Coonghe was the brave patient who underwent surgery on June 1. Colonel (Dr.) U. L. D. Perera and Col. (Dr.) C.S. Abeysinghe assisted in this operation as anesthetists.

The record was previously held by Pakistan when on June 24, 2008, a kidney stone weighing 620 grams (21.87 ounces) was removed from the subject patient’s right kidney at Nephro-Urology Chandka Medical College Hospital, Sindh, Pakistan.

The kidney stone removed from Coonghe broke this record. The kidney stone removed on Thursday (1) at Colombo Army Hospital by Army doctors is 13.372 cm long and weighs 801 grams. “The patient is a 62-year-old retired soldier from Kurunegala. He had served in the North for over 20 years and taken part in many military operations. Around six years ago he experienced some abdominal pain. He had obtained treatment but to no avail. He had not undergone any checks either. He was admitted to the army hospital after the pain became unbearable and we discovered a kidney stone in his right kidney through scans. We found the stone was 13.372 cm in length,” Lt. Colonel (Dr.) K. Sutharshan said.

Massive size

Canistus during his military service in the North-East

According to him, the patient was fortunate as the stone had not harmed his kidneys despite its massive size.

“Despite the complex surgery required it was decided to remove the kidney stone. We had to prepare quite thoroughly due to its size,” he said. Lt. Colonel (Dr.) K. Sutharshan admits the team also looked into former Guinness Records after realising the size of the kidney stone where it was revealed this would be the largest in the world.

“We applied to the Guinness World Records prior to the surgery and we obtained their guidance as well as to claim the record. We would have to remove it without causing any damage to it,” he said. Two independent doctors who did not take part in the surgery acted as witnesses and recorded the event for Guinness World Records, according to the surgeon. Guinness later confirmed the new record on their website.

“We recognise that this is a serious surgery, and we are fully aware of the risks involved both during and after the procedure. The size of the kidney stone posed an increased risk, particularly in terms of potential bleeding. The removal process carried the possibility of encountering unforeseen complications. Thus, we relied on the collaboration and support of various departments, including the administration, anaesthesia, and radiology departments of the hospital.” he said.


“After successfully removing the stone, which measured 13.372 cm, we confirmed that we had the potential to set another Guinness Record. The weight of the stone was measured and we realised that we had broken not just one, but two Guinness records. “Completing this surgery within a challenging time frame of approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes posed a significant challenge, but we were determined to overcome it,” he said. The stone will likely now be put on display due to its world record.

War years

The patient who had to undergo the surgery was Canistus Coonghe, a resident of Negombo. Perhaps his tough life as a soldier had caused him to suffer from kidney stones. According to him during the war years, potable and clean water on the battlefield was a rare luxury.

He recalled his years in the North and the East, and his social service activities following his retirement from the Army. According to Coonghe, he was already suffering from abdominal pains when he retired in 2019. “Due to economic hardships, I did not pursue proper medical help. But in May I was admitted to the army hospital as the pain became unbearable,” he said. Coonghe said the relief he feels now is a far greater source of happiness than the World Record, which will forever be associated with his name.

Pix by Gayan Pushpika