Kidney Stones

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When high levels of certain substances, such as calcium, occur in the urine, a solid kidney stone may form. Kidney stones vary in size; they may remain in the kidney or travel down the urinary tract. A small stone may pass on its own, with little or no pain, whereas a larger stone may lodge along the urinary track, blocking the flow of urine and causing severe pain or blood in the urine.

Symptoms of Kidney Stones

The most common symptoms associated with kidney stones include:

  • Pain in the back, on the side or in the lower abdomen, which may spread to the groin; pain can be severe during a passage event
  • Blood in the urine
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Need to urinate more often or a burning sensation during urination
  • Dull ache that is often confused with muscle or intestinal pain (usually associated with small stones).

Preventing Recurrent Kidney Stones

People who have had a kidney stone have a 25 to 50 percent chance of recurrence over time. This painful and prevalent disease can be managed and the risk of recurrence reduced if treated from both surgical and metabolic perspectives.

Due to the high rate of recurrence, patients undergo a comprehensive analysis to assess their risk factors , including:

  • History of large or multiple kidney stones
  • Family history of stones
  • Intestinal disease (particularly inflammatory bowel disease and chronic diarrhea)
  • Gastric bypass
  • Obesity
  • Pathologic skeletal fractures
  • Osteoporosis
  • History of urinary tract infection with calculi
  • Stones composed of cystine, uric acid or struvite
  • Anatomic abnormalities
  • Gout

Treating Kidney Stones

Treatment of each patient is individualized on the basis of the chemical composition of the stone and the patient’s overall medical condition. Nonsurgical options for prevention of recurrent kidney stones range from lifestyle modifications to nutritional adjustments to medication.


Our patients are treated by a multidisciplinary team that specializes in the treatment of kidney stone disease. Appointments are coordinated with their specialists to optimize care and minimize the need for multiple visits.


People experience a multimodal approach to decrease their risk of recurrence including individualized recommendations on diet, lifestyle modifications and medication, as well as state-of-the-art surgical treatments when necessary. The goal is to achieve stone-free status and minimize the risk of recurrence.


When surgery is needed to treat large kidney stones, we use advanced instruments that are half the size of traditional surgical tools — through a procedure called a mini-percutaneous nephrostolithomy. Unlike traditional surgeries, this outpatient procedure reduces the likelihood of bleeding, as well as eliminates the need for drainage tubes and hospital stays.

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