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Diagnosis and Treatment of Kidney Stones

At Memorial Hermann, our urologists treat a variety of kidney disorders and conditions, ranging from simple infections that respond to medication to kidney stones and malignancies.


About 1 million Americans are treated for kidney stones each year, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Kidney stones are more common in men, who account for four out of every five cases.

What Causes Kidney Stones?

Stones form when substances in the urine that normally block their formation are absent or not working effectively. Factors that contribute to the development of kidney stones include too little fluid intake, chronic urinary tract infections, misuse of certain medications, limited activity for a period of several weeks, urinary tract blockage and certain genetic and metabolic diseases.


Symptoms of kidney stones include severe pain in the kidneys or lower abdomen lasting for minutes or hours, nausea and vomiting, fever and chills, weakness, cloudy urine, blood in the urine or blocked flow of urine. Diagnostic tests are available to determine the type and size of kidney stones and the best course of treatment.

Treatment of Kidney Stones

On average, 90 percent of stones pass by themselves in three to six weeks. Changes in diet may help dissolve stones, and medications can speed the process. For larger stones or multiple stones, lithotripsy is available.


Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy offers patients an option for treating stones in the kidney or ureter without surgery. Shock waves passed through the body break stones into very small particles that are easily passed with urine. The treatment, which is painless, takes about 45-60 minutes. For larger stones, cystoscopy may be used to place a stent that will aid in the passing of the stone.

Surgery for Kidney Stones

For most kidney stones, less-invasive treatments are successful. If stones are very large or if they cause severe bleeding, open surgery may be necessary. Laparoscopic options, including percutaneous nephrolithotomy and nephrolithotripsy, are also available at Memorial Hermann-TMC.

We also offer kidney transplantation, kidney-pancreas transplantation and pancreas transplantation for adults and children through the internationally recognized Texas Kidney Institute.

Referrals & Appointments

Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center has been ranked by U.S. News & World Report as one of the Top 50 Hospitals in the Nation for urology. Contact us or find an affiliated specialist in urology.