Kidney Stone Treatment

Your health care provider will figure out the best treatment based on:

  • How old you are
  • Your overall health and medical history
  • How sick you are
  • How well you can handle specific medications, procedures, or therapies
  • How long the condition is expected to last
  • Your opinion or preference

Some kidney stones pass out of the body on their own without treatment. In cases that cause lasting symptoms or other complications, kidney stones may be treated with one of the following:

  • Shock waves or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This treatment uses a machine to send shock waves directly to the kidney stone. This breaks a large stone into smaller stones that will pass through the urinary system. There are two types of shock wave machines. In one, you sit in a tub of water. In the other, you lie on a table.
  • Ureteroscope. A long wire with a camera attached to it is inserted into the urethra and passed up through the bladder to the ureter where the stone is located. A tiny cage is used to obtain the stone and remove it.
  • Tunnel surgery (also called percutaneous nephrolithotomy). A small cut is made in your back and a narrow tunnel is made through the skin to the stone inside the kidney. The surgeon can remove the stone through this tunnel.

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