Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"How is a kidney stone dissolved?"
My urologist told me that I have a couple of kidney stones but not to worry because they are small. He said that I might have to have them dissolved at some point. How is this done? Is this a form of surgery?
Kidney stones are hard deposits of material that is excreted by the kidney. Most of the time, kidney stones are made up of calcium and some other material. They form inside the kidney, but usually only cause major problems if they move down into a tube called the ureter, that delivers the urine to the bladder. The ureter is small, and thus can be clogged with a kidney stone if it decides to move out of the bladder. It is usually not a great idea to have these treated unless they are causing you symptoms. What you should do is start a treatment plan that will help prevent them from forming in the first place. Most treatment plans include drinking more fluids, and perhaps taking a medication that reduces the amount of calcium your kidneys excrete. By doing this, your kidney stones may dissolve over time. Urologists can break kidney stones into small pieces causing them to dissolve. Your urologist may be referring to a technique called lithotripsy. This is a technique where sound waves are used to pulverize kidney stones and cause them to dissolve. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your urologist. He can explain further what treatment he plans and can educate you on how to prevent formation of new kidney stones.
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