Treatments for Kidney Stones in Dallas-Fort Worth
Kidney Stones Can Be Brutal
In the pantheon of pain, not even natural childbirth or a jellyfish sting come anywhere close to inflicting the same level of agony. When you’re in excruciating pain, you want one thing fast—relief. At UPNT, we don’t waste time. We don’t make you wait. We respond quickly to minimize the time you have to cope with sharp cramping, burning pain, nausea and vomiting.
Our team of experienced stone busters successfully treat stones of every size and type. Using state-of-the-art technology, we carefully evaluate each stone, its location and makeup. We then tailor therapy to your unique needs. We even offer a non-invasive treatment option.
What are kidney stones?
Kidney stones form when small calcium or crystal deposits clump together in the urinary system and continue to grow. When these stones grow and increase in size, most patients become aware of some discomfort. While some kidney stones don’t cause any symptoms, others can trigger sharp cramping in the back or side with a sharp pain that often moves to the lower abdomen or groin. Other symptoms can include an intense need to urinate, a burning sensation when urinating, blood in the urine, nausea and vomiting, and pain in the tip of the penis or vagina. All of these require attention from a urologist.
What causes kidney stones?
Kidneys filter waste from the blood. This waste becomes urine and is passed out of the kidneys to the bladder through the ureter (a tube between the kidney and bladder). Urine naturally contains dissolved minerals and salts, but when it becomes too concentrated due to dehydration or factors associated with diet, disease or inherited genetic risks, the minerals and salts can clump together and form stones of various sizes.
Not all kidney stones are the same.
Some stones remain in the kidneys and don’t cause any problems. Other stones may pass through the ureter to the bladder and out of the body on their own. If stones are too large, though, they can become lodged in the ureter and block the flow of urine—making the kidney swell and cause sudden pain. If these stones are associated with an infection, they can become even more dangerous or even life-threatening.
There are four main types of kidney stones—calcium stones, uric acid stones, struvite stones and cystine stones. When a person has blood in their urine or sudden abdominal or side pain, urinalysis, ultrasound or a CT scan may be ordered to diagnose kidney stones.
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- Jeffrey Charles Applewhite, MD
- Jerry Barker, MD, DABR, FACR
- Paul Benson, MD
- Richard Bevan-Thomas, MD
- Keith D. Bloom, MD
- Tracy Cannon-Smith, MD, FMS
- Paul Chan, MD
- Kara Choate, MD
- Lira Chowdhury, DO, FACOS
- Weber Chuang, MD
- Adam Cole, MD, FS
- M. Patrick Collini, MD
- Zachary Compton, MD
- Adam Hollander, MD
- Patrick A. Huddleston, MD
- Justin Tabor Lee, MD
- Wendy Leng, MD, FPMRS
- Alexander Mackay, MD
- Tony Mammen, MD
- F.H. “Trey” Moore, MD
- Nilan S. Naik, MD, DABR
- Geofrey Nuss, MD
- Christoper Pace, MD
- Jason Poteet, MD
- Andrew Y. Sun, MD
- Scott Thurman, MD
- James Clifton Vestal, MD, FACS
- Keith Waguespack, MD
- Diane C. West, MD
- Keith Xavier, MD, FPMRS
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Treatment Depends on Several Factors
Appropriate treatment for kidney stones is determined by the size and composition of the stone, location and length of time you’ve experienced symptoms. The physician may recommend one of the following treatment options:
Wait for the Stone to Pass
Small stones (usually less than 5 mm) may pass on their own through normal urination. Waiting several weeks for a stone to pass may be advised if the stone is small enough to pass and the kidney is not blocked, there is no infection, and the pain is bearable with over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen. For those patients not willing to wait, Urology Partners has some of the least invasive approaches to get you un-stoned and back to your regular activities.
Tamsulosin (better known as Flomax) may be prescribed to relax the ureter and make it easier for small stones to pass with urination. Pain and anti-nausea medications may also be prescribed to make the wait more comfortable.
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)
When the size and location of a kidney stone make it difficult or uncomfortable to pass on its own, shock waves may be used to break it into smaller particles. Shock waves (basically sound waves) penetrate the body and are targeted directly on the stone. The waves break the stone into small fragments so they can pass into the bladder—minimizing trauma to the surrounding tissues. General anesthesia is typically used to prevent any discomfort during the procedure. ESWL is an outpatient procedure and patients go home within a few hours after the procedure. Most patients are able to return to their normal activities in a few days. Urology Partners utilizes the latest and most up-to-date ESWL lithotripter—the Dornier 3.
In cases where ESWL is not a good treatment option, Urology Partners may recommend using a scope to directly visualize stones in the urinary system and break them up. This minimally invasive procedure is used to treat stones in the kidney and ureter. Using general anesthesia, a small telescope (ureteroscope) is inserted up the ureter and into the ureter and kidney to locate the stone(s) and assess their size. The stones are then fragmented with a Holmium laser into smaller fragments that will pass spontaneously. Occasionally, a small basket-like device is used to directly grab and remove the stone fragments. A temporary stent may be placed within the ureter to hold it open so urine can drain from the kidney into the bladder during recovery. Patients often go home the same day as their ureteroscopy.
If your provider recommends a stent, the stent will placed under anesthesia through the urine tract using a telescope. Stents are made of plastic and typically are removed in a few days or weeks. While the stent is in place, patients may experience varying degrees of burning with urination, increased frequency or urgency, and periodic blood in the urine. They may also experience pain in the back, side, lower abdomen or genital area. Some stents have a string attached that is visible outside the body to help remove the stent. The stent will be removed by your provider. It is important to take care of the string and avoid pulling on it so the stent does not come out too soon. Some patients may need a stent for a longer period of time. If so, the stent will be changed periodically. Stent removal or replacement is very important to ensure it does not stay in too long and cause other problems.
Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
Large stones in the kidney often require surgical removal. Under general anesthesia, a half-inch incision is made in the back or side to allow a small telescope (nephroscope) to be inserted into the kidney where the stone is located. A small tool is passed through the nephroscope to break up the stone and suction it out in pieces. Occasionally, a temporary tube is left in the kidney overnight or for a few days to drain urine into a bag outside the body. Patients may stay in the hospital overnight or for a few days to recover. Patients are able to resume their normal activities after one or two weeks.
We Are Your Kidney Stones Experts
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