Kidney Stone Disease Treatment


Kidney stone disease treatment addresses the stones that form when minerals crystallize in the kidneys and form solid deposits. Kidney stones can affect every part of the urinary tract, including the kidneys, ureter, and bladder. Some stones may pass spontaneously, while others may need medication.

In other cases, persistent and serious symptoms will require one or more of the following kidney stone procedures.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

The risk of kidney stones is higher among individuals who are overweight, have an inherited disease, or are genetically predisposed to developing kidney stones.

Kidney stones form when a significant change disrupts the natural balance of water, minerals, and other substances normally found in urine. Dehydration is the most common cause of kidney stones, as this can lead to low urine flow and create the perfect environment for stones to form. Gout, diabetes, and other medical conditions may also increase the risk of developing kidney stones.


Signs and Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones that don’t leave the kidneys may not cause any symptoms. Patients may experience sudden and severe pain if the stones move through the urinary tract. Pain may worsen if the stone becomes stuck in the ureters, which are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder. Signs and symptoms of kidney stones may include:

  • Severe pain in the side, stomach, or lower back
  • Frequent urination or an urgent need to go
  • Fever and chills
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cloudy or odorous urine
  • Painful urination that may include burning sensations

Percutaneous Surgery

Patients with larger stones may need percutaneous surgery, a procedure that removes kidney stones through a keyhole incision in the back.

Before beginning the procedure, the patient will need to undergo a CT scan to confirm the location of the stone(s). The physician will then use special instruments to break up the large stones into small fragments. These fragments will then be mechanically removed from the kidney. Drainage tubes may be left in the kidney. The removed fragments may be tested to check if there’s a link to an infection and to determine its composition.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy

During shock wave lithotripsy (SWL), strong vibrations (or shock waves) will be used to break up kidney stones so that they can easily pass through urine. The procedure will be guided by an X-ray or ultrasound.

The shock waves will pass through the body to break up the kidney stones. Some patients may have a stent placed prior to the procedure to keep the ureter open and allow the broken pieces to pass through without causing any blockages.

Tips For Preventing Kidney Stones

Patients can take steps to prevent the formation of kidney stones. Drinking plenty of water, maintaining a healthy weight, and avoiding consuming excessive amounts of protein, salt, and sugar can help reduce the risk of kidney stones.

Patients with a history of recurring kidney stones will need regular urological exams to help spot potential problems within the urinary tract that may be contributing to the formation of mineral deposits.

Additional Kidney Stone Disease Treatment