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What are the treatment options for kidney stones?

Not many medical problems are as frustrating and as unbearably painful as kidney stones. With urinary stones, you experience a severe, sharp pain in your side and back. The pain comes in waves, fluctuates in intensity, and radiates to the lower abdomen and groin. Plus, it can get worse!

At Advanced Urology Institute, we recommend that you get evaluated by a urologist as soon as possible when experiencing symptoms of kidney stones. The doctor will intervene to ensure pain relief. And with a timely, appropriate intervention you’ll pass the stone with minimal discomfort and avoid potential complications.

So how do we treat kidney stones?

  1. Pain relief

Most patients tend to come to us when suffering extreme discomfort. In fact, a number of patients are admitted to our emergency department due to acute renal colic. So pain control is usually a top priority.

For acute pain caused by kidney stones, we prefer to prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen, naproxen, and aspirin. These drugs directly inhibit the synthesis of prostaglandins. Hence, they reduce activation of pain receptors and minimize renal blood flow and ureteral contractions.

  1. Using medications

Our choice of treatment for kidney stones depends on the type, size and location of the stones. For instance, if a stone is less than 10 mm in diameter or is located in the bladder or ureter, there is a big chance of the stone passing through the urinary tract spontaneously.

For such a stone, we may only prescribe pain medication and recommend that you drink enough fluids each day to help the stone pass. Also, we may provide medical expulsive therapy (MET). The therapy involves using an alpha blocker medication like tamsulosin to relax the kidney, bladder, and ureter to allow the stones to pass.

  1. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy

When a stone is too large to pass on its own, we will intervene to help you pass it. One such intervention is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). It involves the use of advanced machines to deliver shock waves through the skin. When the shock waves reach the stone, they break it into smaller pieces that can pass in urine spontaneously.  

The procedure is a non-invasive, effective way of treating stones that are less than 20 mm. It gives excellent results with stones less than 10 mm in size and fairly good outcomes with stones of size 10-20 mm. However, it is not effective for stones above 20 mm in size.

  1. Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy

For more complex stones, those larger than 20 mm in size, and smaller stones located deeper in the urinary tract, we may recommend percutaneous nephrolithotripsy. During this procedure, your surgeon relies on ultrasound or fluoroscopic guidance to locate the stone and makes a tiny incision in the lower back to gain access to it.

Upon reaching the stone, the urologist uses a power source such as ultrasound or laser to break it into fragments. The tiny fragments are then flushed out of your kidneys through an internal stent or an external tube.

  1. Ureteroscopy

This procedure is majorly for stones located in the kidneys, particularly if they are larger than 20 mm in size.  During the procedure, your surgeon inserts a high-tech endoscopic tube through your urethra and bladder, then all the way up into the kidney. 

The endoscopic tube is either a semi-rigid or flexible instrument through which your surgeon can have an excellent view of everything inside your urethra. Having reached the stone and under direct visualization, the surgeon breaks it down into fragments using a power source threaded up through the ureteroscope. Then, the urologist may place a post-operative stent for a few days to help with drainage of the fragments.

Unmatched kidney stone treatment

Are you experiencing symptoms of kidney stones? At Advanced Urology Institute, we have a  wealth of experience and an unparalleled record of success in managing kidney stones. 

Our urologists have treated kidney stones for years, know all the possible presentations of the stones, have mastered the art of kidney stone diagnosis, and provide a range of ways to treat the stones. 

Whether you want relief from pain or desire a permanent solution to recurring stones, you can trust us to offer the most appropriate solution. For more information on the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones, visit the site “Advanced Urology Institute.”

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Advanced Urology Institute

Advanced Urology Institute is the largest urology practice in Florida. We are dedicated to improving the lives of our patients by providing excellent Patient-Centered Care. Set an appointment or visit our closest office near you.

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