Kidney Stones

Comprehensive Kidney Stone Treatment and Prevention

Kidney stones send more than one million Americans to the emergency room every year. That doesn’t need to happen to you. If you have a kidney stone, let the experienced urology team at University Hospitals develop a personalized care path for immediate relief and help you prevent new stones from forming.

Our urologists and other kidney stone experts have many different non-invasive and minimally invasive treatment options to remove your kidney stone based on its size, location and your other health conditions. Throughout your care, our team strives to ensure your complete comfort and successful recovery.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are made of dissolved minerals, such as calcium, that crystalize in the kidney. These stones either stay in the kidney or travel down through the ureters, which are tubes that connect your kidneys with your bladder. Sometimes, if the stone is large enough, it gets stuck in the ureter and blocks urine, causing great pain. If the stone passes into the bladder, expelling it during urination can also be quite uncomfortable. Other kidney stone symptoms may include:

  • Pain in the side, back and may radiate to the belly or groin
  • Blood in the urine
  • Cloudy or odorous urine
  • Fever and chills
  • Frequent urination
  • Nausea and vomiting

With the advanced diagnostics needed, our urology experts conduct blood, urine and imaging tests — such as an X-ray, ultrasound or computed tomography (CT) scan — to determine the type of stone you have, its location and its size.

Based on the test results and a full medical evaluation, our specialized team of kidney stone experts will recommend kidney stone treatment options based on your unique health needs to provide the best treatment for your kidney stones and kidney stone pain.

Improved Outcomes from Specialized Urologist Care

More than 80 percent of kidney stones pass on their own. In these situations, our primary goal is to reduce your kidney stone pain and discomfort and help it pass quickly and without injury. For more complex or larger stones, there are numerous non-invasive and minimally invasive treatments available, including:

  • Cystolitholapaxy: This procedure uses a laser or other modalities to break up bladder or kidney stones.
  • Shock waves or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): A non-invasive procedure, we use shock waves to break stones into smaller pieces, so they can be passed through the urine.
  • Ureteroscopy: A kidney stone surgery using a tiny camera, or scope, through the urethra, our team is able to precisely locate the stone while a surgeon removes or breaks the stone into smaller pieces.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL): Reserved for larger stones, this procedure to remove kidney stones uses a small incision in the back with a tube inserted to the kidney stone location. The urologist will then insert the tools through the tube to remove the stone.
  • Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL): Using the same technique as percutaneous nephrolithotomy, our urologists treat larger kidney stones, usually 2 cm or larger, by inserting tools through a tube inserted in a small incision in the back. Stones are broken up and the small fragments are then removed through the tube.

At University Hospitals, our skilled urology team operates the scopes and is responsible for every step of the process. This typically results in the faster and more precise identification of the stone, a more efficient overall procedure and better results.

UH Offers Unique Metabolic Evaluations for Stone Prevention

Removing stones and ensuring your comfort is our most immediate concern. However, the experts at University Hospitals conduct a complete metabolic evaluation to find out why your stone formed and how to prevent others from occurring.

A metabolic evaluation includes an analysis of the passed stone, as well as 24-hour urine collection and dietary log. In the vast majority of cases, by analyzing urine over a 24-hour period and conducting a complete health assessment, our specialists can pinpoint the cause of kidney stone formation.

Not all healthcare organizations perform a metabolic evaluation, but our team is committed to helping you avoid another painful kidney stone experience. Our specialists are highly experienced in performing metabolic evaluations, and recommend them for all our patients with kidney stones.

Find Complete Relief from Your Kidney Stones

If you think you may have a kidney stone, or have suffered from them in the past, please contact the UH urology team to schedule an appointment at 1-866-844-2273.

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