Acute kidney stone symptoms include pain, nausea, vomiting and fever. When a patient experiencing an acute kidney stone episode sees their urologist, the first thing the urologist will do is insert a stint into the urethra. This will open it up and take pressure off the kidney, easing any pain that is present. With the pain subdued, the urologist can move on to assessing the kidney stone’s size and location in order to decide the best treatment option.
One of the best and newest treatment options is shock wave lithotripsy. For this treatment, shock waves are used to break the stone, or stones, into small sand-like particles. These much smaller particles are easier for the patient to pass naturally through their urine. Lithotripsy is a non-invasive and relatively pain free treatment option that is generally well tolerated by the patient.
Ureteroscopy is a slightly more invasive option for kidney stones. General anesthesia is used for this procedure in which a urologist uses a long tool inserted into the urethra to find and remove the kidney stone. In cases of larger stones, a laser is used to break up the stone so it can be scooped out with the tool. With this procedure, the urologist can see the stones as they are removed. Since this is a more invasive option than the shock wave lithotripsy, there is a slightly longer recovery time.
For the largest stones that sit inside the kidney, urologists may need to remove them through the patient’s back. Although still minimally invasive, it is the most invasive option listed here. The urologist will enter the kidney through the back and then either break the stone up or pull the whole thing out through the incision. Recovery for this procedure usually involves an overnight stay at the hospital and some mild pain that can be helped with pain medication.
Patients experiencing the pain and discomfort of kidney stones should be reassured that there are several established procedures for removing the stones. Dr. Samuel Lawindy of the Advance Urology Institute knows the importance of finding the right kidney stone treatment for each patient. For more information about kidney stones, visit the Advanced Urology Institute website.