Stone disease, also called urolithiasis, is a common and painful urologic disorder affecting 13 percent of males and 7 percent of females by age 70 in the United States. Kidney stones form in the kidney. Ureteral stones are kidney stones that move into the ureter. Stones form when there is an imbalance between chemical substances in the urine such as calcium, oxalate and phosphate. A less common type of stone, a struvite or infection stone, is caused by a urinary tract infection. Rarer stones include pure uric acid stones and hereditary stones called cystine stones.
Most kidney stones and ureteral stones pass out of the body without intervention. But sometimes, medical help is needed. Urologic surgeons at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) offer the newest treatment methods to treat stone disease including a mobile lithotripsy unit, an incision-free technology which uses shock waves to dissolve kidney stones and ureteral stones.
Urologic services are available at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Main Campus in Boston, at Brigham and Women’s Faulkner Hospital in Jamaica Plain, at Brigham and Women's/Mass General Health Care Center at Foxborough, and at our newest locations Dana Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center in Milford and Brigham and Women's Health Care Center at Westwood. Discuss the most convenient location for you when you make an appointment with a patient coordinator.
While there is not one definitive reason for the development of kidney stones, many factors contribute to the condition. Risk factors include:
The following are the most common symptoms of kidney stones.
In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for kidney stones may include the following:
Stone size, the number of stones and their location are important factors in deciding the appropriate treatment for kidney stones. Surgical treatment of stones may include:
According to the National Institute of Diabetes Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDKD), the best way to prevent kidney stones includes the following:
You will receive a thorough diagnostic evaluation and receive clinically-proven treatment by a board-certified urologist who specializes in treating kidney stones. Recovery times vary depending upon surgical treatment, with less invasive procedures having shorter recovery times. You will be encouraged to drink extra fluid post-operatively and may need follow-up blood and urine tests.
Brigham and Women’s Hospital practices a multidisciplinary approach to patient care, routinely collaborating with colleagues in other medical specialties. If your urologist discovers that an underlying illness has contributed to the kidney stones, you will be referred to an appropriate BWH physician for an evaluation.
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