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Kidney & Ureteral Stone FAQs

My stone has not passed, do I need surgery?

In general, you are facing surgery if your stones are large enough to obstruct urine flow, if they are potentially harmful to your kidneys or if they are causing symptoms for which medication does not help.

Will my children get kidney stones because I have them?

Any person with a family history of kidney stones may be at higher risk for calculi. Stone disease in a first degree relative, such as a parent or sibling, can dramatically increase the probability for you. In addition, more than 70 percent of people with certain rare hereditary disorders are prone to the problem. Those conditions include cystinuria, an excess of the amino acid, cystine that does not dissolve in urine and instead forms stones of cystine; and primary hyperoxaluria, an excess production of the compound oxalate, which also does not dissolve in urine, forming stones of oxalate and calcium.

Are gallstones and kidney stones related?

No, there is no known link between gallstones and kidney stones. They are formed in different areas of the body.  If you have a gallstone, you are not necessarily more likely to develop kidney stones.

What is a staghorn stone?

Resembling the horns of a stag, or deer, these stones get their name from the shape they form by filling the pelvis or drainage system of the kidney (at the top of the ureter). Staghorn stones are linked to urinary tract infections. Despite the fact that they can grow large, they are often overlooked by patients because they cause minimal or even no pain. But a staghorn stone can lead to deterioration of kidney function, even without blocking the passage of urine.

Treating this condition can be challenging. In the past, urologists relied on conventional open surgery to remove the offending stone. But today they employ a combination of shock wave lithotripsy and percutaneous surgical procedures, even though patients may still need a traditional operation. ESWL alone is not and effective form of treatment for this type of stone. It is essential once the stone is removed that you work diligently to prevent future stones by preventing urinary tract infections. Luckily, new drugs and the growing field of lithotripsy have greatly improved the treatment of all kidney calculi, including staghorn stones

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Information provided by the American Urological Association.