Kidney Stone Treatment
Treatment Options Near Scranton, PA
Passing a kidney stone is typically an extremely painful experience. In fact, it is said that the only pain that is worse is childbirth! At Riverview Urologic, we are the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre area experts in the diagnosis and treatment of kidney stones.
When a kidney stone moves tries to move out of a kidney and travels down the ureter to the bladder, several things happen. The first is pain, which can range from mild (rare) to severe (more common). Pain typically is located in the lower or middle back area and may move to the side or lower abdomen.
The stone may cause a blockage to the flow of urine which results in kidney swelling that can lead to permanent kidney damage. There may be blood in your urine. Many patients experience nausea and vomiting. You could develop a urine infection which causes a fever. If the pain is too intense, or if nausea and vomiting prevent you from drinking liquids, then you may need to go to a local hospital emergency department.
What are Kidney Stones?
Kidney stones can be very small and hard formations of acid salts and minerals that form on the inner surfaces of your kidneys. Normally these materials are diluted in urine, however when urine is concentrated, they can crystallize and solidify into small masses called kidney stones.
While kidney stones cause no permanent damage, passing them can produce excruciating back and abdominal pain as they move from the kidney through the ureters (vessels connecting the kidney to the bladder). Knowing the type of kidney stones that have formed and why they developed is important in preventing the formation of new stones.
If you have more questions about kidney stones or are seeking treatment, consult with your urologist at Riverview Urologic Associates by calling (570) 288-3601.
How are Kidney Stones Treated?
Fluid intake and dietary changes
You may be able to pass kidney stones by drinking plenty of water (up to 2 to 3 quarts (1.9 to 2.8 liters) a day and by remaining physically active. Dietary changes may include adjusting one’s intake of sugar, sodium calcium animal protein, insoluble fiber and vitamin C. Your physician can make recommendations based on the type and cause of your condition.
During the course of passing a kidney stone, your physician may prescribe drugs to reduce or minimize the often time debilitating pain associated with the movement of the stones from the kidney into the bladder.
Kidney stones that can’t be managed or treated with dietary and fluid intake measures, because of their size or because of ongoing urinary tract infections or bleeding, may need more involved approaches. These include:
Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)
This common procedure uses ultrasonic shock waves to break the stones into very small particles that can be passed in your urine. Typically, a patient is immersed into a tub of water or lies on a soft cushion for the procedure.
When ESWL is ineffective, or in conditions where a stone is very large, a physician will remove the stone through a small incision in your back using an instrument called a nephroscope.
Ureteroscopic Stone Removal
When a kidney stone is lodged in the ureters, the stone can be removed with a small instrument called an ureterescope that is passed directly into the ureter through the bladder. Besides physically snaring and removing a stone, the ureteroscope can also be used to direct laser or ultrasonic energy to break up the stone. These methods work well on stones in the lower part of the ureter.
When kidney stones are caused by overactive parathyroid glands, (located on the four corners of your thyroid gland) the cause is most often a small benign tumor in one of the glands. To correct this condition a physician can surgically remove the tumor.