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Kidney Stones

Update in Diagnosis and Management

Kidney Stones

Slide 2

February 2010

Kidney stones are abnormal crystalline deposits that grow slowly in the kidney over many months to years. Typically they arise within the medullary regions of the kidney, where tubular fluid is most concentrated, and grow from microscopic deposits to eventually form true stones many millimeters in diameter.

While attached in the kidney stones are typically asymptomatic and do not cause pain. However, when they break free and enter the collecting system of the kidney they can cause obstruction. Swelling and spasm of the kidney and ureter are what cause the pain typically associated with a kidney stone attack, which is called renal colic.

Although kidney stones are not usually life threatening, we would really like to prevent them because they are very painful, very common occurring in up to 10% of males and 6% of females in their lifetime, tend to be recurrent, and are very costly to the health care system due to the medical care needed for patients with symptomatic stones.

Kidney Stones


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