Kidney stones have increased in prevalence in the USA in recent years, probably due to dietary factors. Most, but not all kidney stones are painful. In addition to pain, kidney stones cause cause urinary infections, chronic kidney inflammatory disorders, and silent blockages. Kidney stones may be managed in a variety of ways, depending upon a variety of factors, such as stones size and location, patient and urologist preference, and underlying medical conditions within the patient. In general, here are the 5 treatment options. 1: Observation: This is OK for small, lower pole kidney stones that are not growing and not causing problems. Observation is also OK for ureter stones that are not causing severe blockage or pain or infection. 2: Lithotripsy: This is a great option for all but the largest stones and is suitable for stones in many locations within the kidney and ureter. Lithotripsy is non-invasive. 3: Ureteroscopy: This is a good option for stones in the lower third of the ureter, but is invasive. It is possible in upper ureter and even renal stones, but is more difficult in these locations. 4: Percutaneous Stone Extraction: This is the best option for very large renal stones but is the most invasive approach. For some stones, it is the only viable option. 5: Stenting: This is a temporizing approach that is only used to stabilize an infected patient prior to one of the more definitive approached mentioned above.
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