Alaska Urological Institute

Kidney & Bladder Stone

A kidney or bladder stone is a formation of excess minerals, such as calcium, that have collected in the body and crystalized into a nugget-like “stone.” Institute doctors utilize a number of very effective and minimally invasive techniques to remove stones at our offices.

Normally, a kidney stone does not cause pain while it remains in the kidney. But when it travels through the urinary system, a stone can create a blockage, causing sudden, intense pain. This means that a person with a kidney stone may not have any symptoms and, in fact, may not even be aware that he or she has a stone.

The most common causes of stones are chronic dehydration, a high-salt diet and some medical conditions, such as gout. Having a parent who had stones increases a person’s chances of getting stones. Once a condition found only in adults, urinary stones are on the rise in children, most likely due to not drinking enough water and eating a high-salt diet.

Stones are usually passed out of the body through the urine. But when they are too large or do not pass for some other reason, Institute doctors can break it with sound waves from outside the body into tiny fragments that are small enough to pass through the urine. This treatment method is preferable because it does not require incisions.

If sound-wave therapy proves ineffective, we can utilize time-tested, minimally invasive surgery techniques to remove stones, such as laparoscopy or cystoscopy.

Institute urologists are very experienced in the diagnosis and removal of kidney and bladder stones. In all but a very few exceptional cases, treatment of stones is an outpatient procedure that requires only minimal anesthesia and can be performed in our offices.