Laser stone removal

options for removing
painful kidney stones

Most people don’t realize that women have kidney stones almost as often as men. Kidney stones are pretty much the most painful condition that humans endure. Women who have had natural childbirth, and then had a kidney stone, say the kidney stone is worse!

What are the symptoms of a kidney stone?

The typical symptoms are flank pain on the side of your mid-back, pain radiating from the back to the front, and nausea or vomiting. The pain occurs as the stone is passing down the track and causing an obstruction. This causes the kidney to swell and the pressure build-up is very painful as the track is trying to squeeze the stone through a narrow spot.

Another common symptom is blood in the urine. Occasionally patients will see blood in their urine, but other times blood is found on a microscopic urine test during a routine physical.

How is a kidney stone diagnosed?

A kidney X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan can be used to find a kidney stone. The stone will appear as a shadow which is the same color as the bones, and the way it looks on the imaging studies will determine which treatment is best to remove your stone.

Is it necessary to remove the stone?

If the stone is small or in the lower pole of the kidney, it may be possible to leave it alone and just monitor with regular x-rays for any changes.

Sometimes if a stone is passing through with minimal pain, we will let it pass on its own, without surgery. In these cases, we give pain medication to help you get through it.

How is the stone removed?

There are 3 options for removal:

  1. Laser Stone Removal
    A tiny scope is inserted and goes up into the kidney to break up the stone with a small laser fiber. The large pieces are removed with a basket, and the dust washes out by itself.
  2. Shock Waves
    A special machine called a lithotripter breaks up the stone with shock waves. X-ray is used to aim the shock waves directly on the stone, and the dust comes out on its own. This technique requires no cutting or scoping, and is very easy on patients.
  3. Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy
    This technique is reserved for very large stones, and is the only procedure which requires an overnight stay in the hospital. A scope is inserted through the back and directly into the kidney to laser the stone and pull it out.

What can I expect after stone surgery?

Blood in the urine is common after breaking up a kidney stone, but increasing your water intake will flush it through.

If you have a large stone, you will likely have a stent placed to keep the track open while the swelling subsides. The stent remains in place for a few days and can be uncomfortable. Dr. Christi will easily remove the stent in the office after it is no longer needed.

Once you have recovered from surgery, we conduct a metabolic analysis to evaluate why you developed the stones.

Dr. Christi has extensive experience with stones and will help get you through this process as easily as possible. If you are experiencing symptoms, please call our office at 281.717.4003.