Kidney stones are extremely common and can be quite painful. Some kidney stones can be passed with pain medication and plenty of water while others may require surgery. At San Jose Urology Partners in the North Valley area of San Jose, California, James Hwong, MD, offers a range of effective treatments for kidney stones. This includes extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) and advanced minimally-invasive surgery to get rid of painful kidney stones. Call or click to visit San Jose Urology Partners to learn more about your treatment options.
Kidney stones are hard deposits of minerals and salts that develop inside your kidneys. Kidney stones can affect any part of your urinary tract, from your bladder to your kidneys. Passing kidney stones can be painful, but the stones don’t typically cause permanent damage if properly treated.
When a kidney stone moves around within your kidney or passes into your ureter — the tube connecting your bladder to your kidney — you might experience symptoms such as:
If an infection is present, you might have chills and a fever.
The cause of kidney stones isn’t always clear, and several factors can increase your risk of developing them. Kidney stones can occur when the fluid in your urine has difficulty diluting the higher concentrations of crystal-forming substances, such as oxalate, calcium, and uric acid. Your urine might also lack substances that prevent the crystals from sticking together.
There are different types of kidney stones. The most common are calcium stones, which are usually made up of calcium oxalate, a substance found in food and also made by your liver. Other types of kidney stones may be caused by an infection or hereditary disorders.
Following appropriate diagnostic testing, such as blood and urine testing and abdominal X-rays, our team might recommend various treatments for your kidney stones, depending on the type of stone and the cause.
Drinking lots of water and taking over-the-counter pain relievers is often a first line of treatment. Our team may prescribe medications to help you pass the stone.
In some instances, as when stones become lodged in the urinary tract and cause complications or are associated with a urinary infection, our team might recommend a more intensive treatment, such as ESWL or surgery.
Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) uses sound waves to create strong vibrations or shock waves that break kidney stones into tiny pieces that can be passed in your urine. The procedure takes around an hour and might involve sedation or light anesthesia.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL) is a surgery to remove your kidney stone using small telescopes and instruments that are inserted through a small 1-cm incision in your back. The specialist on our team uses laser lithotripsy to fragment the stone into small pieces before carefully extracting the pieces. The procedure involves general anesthesia and typically takes around three to four hours. You might need to recover in the hospital for one to two days.
Our team will likely suggest preventive treatment to reduce your risk of kidney stones. Call or schedule your appointment online to learn more.