Kidney Stones


As many as 5 percent of all Americans will be affected by urinary stones during their lifetime. Men have an increased risk compared to women. The recurrence rate can be as high as 50 percent up to five years after the initial stone episode.

Depending on stone size, up to 85-90 percent of stones are passed spontaneously without intervention (surgery or other procedure), although some treatment may be required for symptomatic relief such as IV fluid and pain medications. Current surgical treatments for stones are far less invasive than fifteen to twenty years ago. At that time, many stone had to be retrieved through open incisions. Currently we reserve open surgical stone removal for very large stone cases.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is currently the preferred treatment for many urinary stones and is usually effective in eliminating the offending stone from the urinary tract. This technology utilizes the imoact of focused sound waves on the stone to crack it into small passable fragments. Another option for larger stones is percutaneous ultrasonic lithotripsy (PUNL) that places a small “straw” into the kidney from the back and allows direct visualization and breaking-up of stones using ultrasound. Removal of stones in the ureter is done under direct vision using specialized endoscopes, called ureteroscopes. We can use laser energy to break the stones into small fragments that can be retrieved with baskets. ESWL and ureteroscopy are typically performed in an outpatient setting.

The physicians at Central Arizona Urologists have expertise in all areas treatment and evaluation of urinary tract stone disease. We will discuss all of the various options for an individual’s presentation and arrive at the best treatment option.

Informative Stone Disease Links: