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Kidney & Ureteral Stone Diagnosis

Sometimes "silent" stones, those that cause no symptoms are found on X-rays taken during a general health examination. These stones would likely pass unnoticed. If they are large, then treatment should be offered. More often, kidney stones are found on an X-ray or sonogram taken on someone who complains of blood in the urine or sudden pain. These diagnostic images give the doctor valuable information about the stone's size and location. Blood and urine tests also help detect any abnormal substance that might promote stone formation.

If your doctor suspects a stone but is unable to make a diagnosis from a simple X-ray, he or she may scan the urinary system with computed tomography (CT). CT is an imaging technique that is the gold standard for stone diagnosis as it is an extremely accurate diagnostic tool that can detect almost all types of kidney stones painlessly. Historically intravenous pyelorgram (IVP) was used but this requires prep as well as intravenous contrast dye and serial X-rays.

The abovementioned tests give your doctor information about the size, location and number of stones that are causing the symptoms. This allows the urologist to determine appropriate treatments.

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Information provided by the American Urological Association.