Kidney stones are no joke.
It’s a common condition that affects thousands of people every year. Kidney stones can be incredibly painful, and they can also lead to permanent kidney damage.
Kidney stones are formed when there’s an imbalance between the amount of calcium and other minerals in your urine. This happens when you eat too much of certain foods or drink too much liquid without enough water in your system. Some people have a genetic predisposition for developing kidney stones, but most kidney stones are caused by lifestyle choices.
Kidney stones can range in size from a grain of sand to something as big as a golf ball. If the stone moves from its original location, it can become stuck in another part of your kidney or in other areas of your body (like your bladder). If this happens, it can cause pain and may lead to infection or even death if not treated quickly!
The good news is that there are ways to prevent kidney stones from forming. The first thing to do is drink lots of water and eat foods with high water content. Avoiding salt will also help keep your body from releasing too much calcium into your urine, which is one of the main ingredients in kidney stones.
Why kidney stones cause pain?
Kidney stones form when urine contains too much crystal-forming substances such as calcium or uric acid. These substances can’t be dissolved in the urine, so they form crystals that eventually grow into kidney stones.
When too much waste builds up in the urine, it can form a stone that blocks one of these tubes (nephron). The blocked tube stops urine from being filtered out of your body properly causing pain until it is removed from the body using either surgery or lithotripsy (a high-powered ultrasound probe).
When to consider surgery for kidney stones?
Kidney stones can pass on their own without surgery. But when the kidney stone won’t pass on its own and causing too much pain and interferes with their daily life, a doctor may recommend that you have surgery to remove the stone.
Moreover, surgery is done if the stone is blocking urine flow or if it’s causing problems with blood flow through the kidneys. In this case, surgery will remove the stone and help with blood flow back to normal.
What are the surgical options for kidney stones removal?
Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL)
This is a treatment in which sound waves are used to break up the stone and help it pass through your urinary tract.
This procedure involves using a small tube called a ureteroscope to break up or remove the stone. A ureteroscope has a light and camera on the end, so that your doctor can see inside your kidney and bladder. The ureteroscope is put into your urethra (the tube that carries urine from your bladder out of your body) and guided up into your bladder and then into one of your kidneys. A special tool on the end of the ureteroscope can then be used to break up or remove stones.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL)
This is a surgical procedure performed to remove kidney stones from the kidneys, ureters, or bladder. The procedure is done through a small incision in the back. It can be performed under local or general anesthesia.
Open or robotic surgery to remove kidney stones is a minimally invasive surgical technique. A urologist will make a small incision above the hip bone and insert a camera into the body cavity. The camera allows the surgeon to see inside the body to guide them as they remove kidney stones. Open surgery may be done if there are complications from using an endoscope.
Robotic surgery is a newer method for removing kidney stones. In robotic surgery, a surgeon operates a robot from a console outside of the patient’s body. The robot uses small instruments to remove the stone(s) and then places them into a sterile specimen bag for removal from your body.
Do kidney stones come back after kidney stone surgery?
Yes, kidney stones can come back after kidney stone surgery.
For patients with calcium oxalate stones, post-surgery recurrence rates range from 7% to 19%, depending on the patient’s age and other factors. The risk of recurrence is highest for patients under age 30, who have had surgery within the last 10 years, or those who have had multiple surgeries.
For patients with uric acid stones, recurrence rates range from 1% to 8%. Patients who have undergone previous operations on their urinary tract may be at higher risk of recurrence than others
The best way to prevent this is to make sure you drink plenty of water and stay hydrated throughout the day so that your urine is clear and free of crystals (which can lead to kidney stones). You should also eat a diet rich in fruits and vegetables (which contain magnesium), as well as limit sodium intake by avoiding processed foods like canned soups or frozen dinners that have lots of salt added during processing (the sodium causes your body to retain fluids).
If you have kidney stones, we are here to help. We’ll walk you through the process of treating your kidney stones.
Desert Sky Urology is a urology clinic in Chandler, AZ. Call us at 480 933 5556 to book an appointment.