Passing kidney stones can be excruciating, but they don’t usually cause permanent damage. Medical intervention, except for pain medication, is often unnecessary.
Surgeries and Procedures
If a stone can’t be passed, treatment varies, depending on the type of stone and the cause. Procedures include:
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL): This procedure uses shock waves to break the stones into tiny pieces that are then passed in the urine.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy: The stone can be removed through a small incision in the back.
Ureteroscopic stone removal: This procedure removes a stone lodged in the ureter by snaring it with a scope that’s passed into the ureter through the bladder. Ultrasound or laser energy also can be directed through the scope to shatter the stone.
Parathyroid surgery: Some calcium stones are caused by overactive parathyroid glands, often the result of a small benign tumor, which can be removed surgically. However, it’s important to find out the type of kidney stone and why it developed. Some of the underlying causes can be treated to prevent new stones from forming. If no specific treatment exists, you may be able to prevent additional stones simply by drinking more water and making dietary changes.
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