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Stone Disease Treatments

Stone Disease Treatments

In patients with kidney stones, treatment options can vary depending on the type of stone. Temple urologists use the following procedures to treat kidney stones:

Comprehensive medical therapy

Kidney stones are identified by a number of diagnostic tests. Blood tests can detect higher than normal levels of uric acid or calcium. A 24-hour urine collection test might show excess minerals that form stones and/or a lack of minerals that prevent stone from forming. Kidney stones in the urinary tract can be identified by a CT imaging study.

Once detected, kidney stones are analyzed to determine their chemical makeup. Temple's urologists encourage patients who have smaller stones without significant symptoms to pass the stone naturally through the urine. To facilitate this process, patients should drink between 2 to 3 quarts of water per day. Pain killers such as Tylenol, Advil or Aleve can help offset any discomfort associated with passing the stone.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Percutaneous kidney stone surgery

During this procedure, a Temple urologist surgically removes or breaks down large stones within the kidney. The surgeon uses an X-ray guidance system to insert a small needle through the patient's back and guide it into the kidney. Progressively larger tubes are then inserted over this wire until there is an opening between the stone and the kidney tissue. The surgeon inserts a probe into this opening to remove the stone directly, or break it apart and remove the smaller pieces.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Ureteroscopy for kidney stones and obstruction

Ureteroscopy is a procedure for removing kidney stones that have passed into the ureter. Unlike other treatments for larger stones, it does not require the urologist to make any incisions. A Temple urologist inserts a long, thin camera called a ureteroscope into the urethra and up through the ureter until the stone is visible. Once in place, the urologist has several options for removing the stone. Depending on the size and makeup of the stone, the surgeon can use forceps, lasers, or an instrument that mechanically breaks up the stone. For stones that have become stuck in the ureter, the surgeon may push the stone back into the kidney and then perform traditional kidney stone surgery.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for kidney stones

During this procedure, a Temple urologist uses an instrument to deliver shock waves that break kidney stones into smaller pieces. At the end of treatment, most stones are compacted into a powdery substance that is easily passed out of the body in the urine. The procedure is intended for patients with a single stone smaller than 3 cm. The results tend to be best when the stone measures less than 1 cm and is located in the pelvic area. Patients who want to avoid open surgery, or patients with hypertension, diabetes, heart disease or breathing disorders can also benefit from extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.

The success of the procedure depends on the type of kidney stone. Uric acid stones and some types of calcium stones are easily broken into powder and removed from the body. Other calcium stones are harder to break up, and are likely to remain in the kidney to some extent. Large cystine stones are difficult to break with shock waves, though smaller cystine stones are easier.

The shock waves must pass through water to reach the kidney stone. While being treated, the patient either sits in a tank of water or holds a water-filled cushion against his or her body. The shock waves are precisely targeted to the stone and do not damage nearby areas of the body.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).

Laser lithotripsy for kidney stones

During this procedure, a Temple urologist inserts a flexible laser-equipped fiber and a visualization scope through the urethra. When the fiber reaches the stone, the surgeon activates the laser beam to break the stone into smaller pieces. The pieces are then removed or flushed out of the body.

To schedule an appointment with a Temple urologist, click here or call
1-800-TEMPLE-MED (1-800-836-7536).