Most kidney stones can be treated without surgery and will pass by themselves within three to six weeks. In this situation the only treatment required is pain relief.

Sometimes, however, pain can be so severe that hospital admission and very strong painkillers may be needed.

If a stone doesn’t pass and blocks urine flow, or causes bleeding or an infection, then it may need to be treated using one of these methods:

  • Extracorporeal Shock-Wave Lithotripsy – Ultrasound waves are used to break the kidney stone into smaller pieces, which can pass out with the urine. It is used for stones less than two centimetres in size.
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy – A small incision is made in your back and then a special instrument is used to remove the kidney stone.
  • Endoscope Removal – An instrument is inserted into the urethra, passed into the bladder, then to where the stone is located. It allows the doctor to remove the stone or break it up so it can pass more easily.
  • Surgery – This requires an incision in your back to access your kidney and ureter to remove the stone.

Being mindful of the risks and symptoms of kidney stones is an important part of caring for your kidneys.

Links to fact sheets and other helpful information can be found here: Resources Library.

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