How are Kidney Stones Treated?

While many kidney stones pass naturally, it is important that you discuss your
symptoms with your urologist to be sure you are an appropriate candidate for a trial of passage. In certain situations, it may be necessary to surgically remove your kidney stone.

At the UCI Kidney Stone Center, we use the latest minimally invasive technology to remove kidney stones as quickly and as effectively as possible. In doing so, we are able to reduce recovery time.

What Non-Surgical and Surgical Options Are Available to Treat My Kidney Stones?

The three most common options to remove kidney stones are the following:
1) Shockwave lithotripsy: at UCI we have at our disposal the most advanced shock wave lithotripsy machine in the United States. Sound waves are used to break the kidney stone into small dust fragments. These tiny pieces of stone can then pass naturally out of your body in your urine. This method is the least invasive – however your urologist will determine if this treatment is right for you depending on the hardness of the stone, the location of the stone and your specific body type.

2) Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy: this method is very effective at breaking up stones at all locations in the urinary tract, provided your stone burden is not too large. While this procedure does not require an incision, a small camera is needed to be placed in your urinary tract to enter the urethra, bladder, ureter, and your kidney. Once we localize your stone a laser is used to break the stone into small fragments, which are then removed using a basket.

3) Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: This method is the most effective modality to treat large kidney stones. Members of our team have pioneered this type of stone removal surgery and through a small incision in our back the kidney stones are removed. We are one of the only centers in Orange County to incorporate mini-PCNL with ultrasound guidance to ensure the smallest incision is made and that you are exposed to the least amount of radiation.

What Treatment Option is Right for Me to Remove My Kidney Stone?

The treatment option that is right for you is tailored based on the number of kidney stones, the location of the kidney stones and the size of the kidney stones. It will also depend on if your kidney stones are causing pain or other symptoms. Your medical conditions and, most importantly, your personal preferences will also weigh heavily in the decision.

What is Recovery Like After My Kidney Stone is Removed?

Recovery after the surgical treatment of kidney stones is typically short, and often, patients are back to work or to their normal activities the day after surgery. Your urologist can answer any specific questions you have about recovery.

What Will Follow-up Care Be Like After My Kidney Stone is Removed?

You will visit your urologist’s office three to seven days after your surgical
procedure. This is an opportunity for you to ask questions, for your urologist to discuss any findings or results from surgery, and also to remove any drains or tubes, such as a ureteral stent. A ureteral stent is a small plastic tube inserted in your urinary system to help it heal after surgery. Typically, removal is quick and painless.