Kidney Stones

A key symptom of kidney stones is severe pain in the lower stomach, side of the back, groin or testicles.

Patients can also experience pain while urinating, blood in the urine, nausea, vomiting, fever, and an abnormal urine color or odor. Sometimes kidney stones produce no pain and are discovered by accident, while patients are getting an xray, ultrasound or CAT scan for another medical issue. In either case, left untreated, stones can wreak havoc on the kidneys and cause permanent damage. A thorough evaluation is critical to a good outcome.


What Causes Kidney Stones?

There are different types of kidney stones, each with different possible causes. Kidney stones are more likely to develop as you age. Sometimes kidney stones can be caused by medications, or previous surgeries like gastric bypass. Inflammatory bowel disease like ulcerative colitis and Chrones disease can cause kidney stones, as can Gout, obesity and metabolic syndrome. Family history and not drinking enough fluids also put you at risk. More common in men than women, most are made of calcium while some are made of cystine, struvite or uric acid.


Treatment Options for Kidney Stones

Not all kidney stones need to be treated, some can just be observed and medically managed. When kidney stones get trapped in the tube that connects the kidney to the bladder (the ureter), they must be treated to prevent kidney damage. Treatments for kidney stones depend on their location, size and hardness of the stones and could include:

  • Medical expulsive therapy
  • Lithotripsy – breaks up the stones with shockwave therapy
  • Ureteroscopic stone removal - explain
  • Percutaneous nephrostomy – stones are removed by inserting a tube through the skin into the kidney

Once you have had kidney stones, you are at increased risk of developing more. Our interdisciplinary treatment team is dedicated not only to complete removal of troublesome kidney stones, but also to preventing future stones through medication and dietary modifications.


Lithotripsy

What is Lithotripsy?

Lithotripsy is a treatment for smaller kidney stones that uses high energy shock waves to break up the stones. The tiny pieces of kidney stone can then be passed in the urine, avoiding surgery. The patient lies on a soft membrane that the shock waves pass through for an hour or less, and some anesthesia is usually used to help them stay still during the treatment and reduce any possible discomfort. Sometimes lithotripsy can be done on an outpatient basis, but more usually 1-2 days of hospitalization are needed. People can usually get back to their daily activities within a few days.

Is Lithotripsy Always Used for Kidney Stones?

Whether lithotripsy can be used depends on how many kidney stones are present, and how large they are. It also depends on the type of kidney stone, and where it is located. Your urologist has to be able to see the stones clearly by x-ray monitor to aim the shock wave treatment precisely.


Percutaneous Nephrostomy

Sometimes urine must be drained from your kidneys using a procedure called a nephrostomy. This can usually be done as an outpatient procedure.
Using ultrasound or x-ray images to guide the procedure, a needle is inserted through the skin into the kidney. Contrast material is injected to enhance the view of the kidney via x-ray. Then a catheter is placed into the kidney, and a collection bag is used to drain the urine from the kidney. The procedure usually takes less than half an hour.


Ureterscopic Stone Removal

A ureterscope is a tube-shaped device that can be inserted through the urethra into the bladder and ureter. When patients have kidney stones in the lower part of their urinary tract, they can pass a basket-like device through the ureterscope to grasp the stone and remove it through the tube. Some larger stones can be broken up with a laser attachment and then removed through the ureterscope. A stent is left in the ureter temporarily to make sure the kidney is draining properly.


Kidney Stones & Kidney Disease Resources


Meet our Kidney Stone Specialists:

Name Specialties Location
Allen, Richard Stephen, MD
203.238.1241
  • Urology
  • Meriden
  • Meriden
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Bieniek, Jared M., MD
860.947.8500
  • Urology
  • Farmington
  • Glastonbury
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Crawley, David F., MD
860.443.0622
  • Urology
  • Waterford
  • Norwich
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D'Amato, Abram Cooper, MD
860.947.8500
  • Urology
  • Hartford
  • Farmington
  • Manchester
  • West Hartford
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Devanney, James Francis, MD
860.496.8990
  • Urology
  • Torrington
DiStefano, Anthony Joseph, MD
860.643.2731
  • Urology
  • Urologic Oncology
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  • Manchester
Dorin, Ryan P., MD, FACS
860.223.0800
  • Urology
  • Urologic Oncology
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  • Plainville
  • Bristol
  • Meriden
  • Meriden
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Friedman, Franklin Paul, MD
860.886.1956
  • Urologic Oncology
  • Urology
Show Less
  • Norwich
Griffith, John James, MD
860.643.2731
  • Urology
  • Manchester
  • Hartford
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Kesler, Stuart S., MD
860.947.8500
  • Urology
  • Avon
  • Farmington
  • Hartford
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McLeod, Brian Scott, MD
860.564.9250
  • Urology
  • Plainfield
Morgenstern, Jeffrey H., MD
860.947.8500
  • Urology
  • Glastonbury
  • Avon
  • Farmington
  • Hartford
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Pyo, Paul, MD
203.238.1241
  • Urology
  • Meriden
  • Cheshire
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Quinn, Anthony Dennis, MD, FACS
860.443.0622
  • Urology
  • Waterford
  • Norwich
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Rosenberg, David Jeremy, MD
860.643.2731
  • Urology
  • Manchester
Russo, Rebecca Louise, APRN, DNP, FNP-C
860.564.9250
  • Urology
  • Plainfield
Schoenberger, Steven Harris, MD, FACS
860.443.0622
  • Urology
  • Waterford
Shichman, Steven Jon, MD
860.947.8500
  • Urology
  • Hartford
  • Avon
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Stahl, Brandon Christopher, MD
860.886.1956
  • Urologic Oncology
  • Urology
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  • Norwich
Tarantino, Arthur Edgar, MD
860.947.8500
  • Urology
  • Glastonbury
  • Farmington
  • Hartford
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Tremaglio, Joseph M., MD
860.241.0700
  • Nephrology
  • Internal Medicine
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  • Hartford
  • Bloomfield
  • Farmington
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Wagner, Joseph Robert, MD
860.947.8500
  • Urology
  • Farmington
  • Hartford
  • Manchester
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Wong, Jean F., MD
203.238.1241
  • Urology
  • Meriden
  • Meriden
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