The specialists at Summit Health offer the latest in surgical and non-surgical techniques for the treatment of stone disease. After a thorough evaluation, our experienced urologists will create an effective treatment plan tailored to meet each patient’s individual needs.
Kidney stones are small, hard deposits made of minerals and acid salts. In many cases, the stones form when urine becomes concentrated, which allows the minerals and salts to stick together. While passing kidney stones can be painful, the stones typically leave no damage behind.
Risk factors for developing kidney stones include:
- A diet high in protein, sodium, and sugar
- Digestive diseases, such as irritable bowel syndrome
- Family or previous personal history of kidney stones
- Undergoing gastric bypass
Treatment for kidney stones varies depending on the type of stone and its cause. However, the majority of kidney stones do not require invasive treatment. Smaller stones may be passed by drinking water or by taking pain receivers or prescribed medications.
Larger stones and stones that cause more severe symptoms may be treated with shock wave therapy to break them up, removed through a surgical procedure known as a percutaneous nephrolithotomy—a minimally invasive procedure performed through a small incision made in the back where the stone is removed) or broken up/removed using a scope.
Bladder stones are hard mineral deposits that form in the bladder when urine in the bladder becomes concentrated, resulting in crystallized minerals. The stones are generally due to the bladder’s inability to fully empty.
Risk factors for developing bladder stones include:
- An obstruction blocking the flow of urine from the bladder to the urethra
- Being male and over the age of 30
- Damage to the nerves that control bladder function due to disease (e.g., Parkinson’s disease) or trauma (e.g., spinal cord injury)
In practically all cases, bladder stones must be removed. Treatments include:
- Cystolithoapaxy — breaking the stones and removing the pieces through the use of a scope inserted through the urethra and into the bladder
- Open surgery — an incision is made directly in the bladder and the stones are removed
Ureteral stones are hard mineral deposits that can originate in the kidney and move to the urinary tract, or form in the tract itself. The risk factors for developing ureteral stones are the same as kidney stones with one additional factor: they may also form due to a urinary tract infection. In addition, because of the similarity between the two types of stones, treatment methodologies are also the same.