Kidney Stone Treatment

Kidney Stone Treatment Santa Barbara Urologist Dr Laub

Each year, kidney stone issues affect one in 500 Americans—both men and women—and send more than half a million people to the emergency room. An estimated 10 percent of the population will experience a kidney stone at some time in their lives.

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are formed in the urinary tract, which creates and carries urine through the body, and is comprised of the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. There are normally many salts and minerals present in urine. When a person becomes dehydrated, those substances may crystalize, creating hard, pebble-like clusters ranging in size from a grain of sand all the way up to a golf ball. Stones are formed either when calcium combines with oxalate or phosphorous, or from uric acid, a by-product of protein metabolism.

Kidney stone symptoms

As long as the stones remain in the kidneys, there is generally no pain, but once they start to move through the urinary tract into the bladder, the pain can feel excruciating. Specific symptoms may include severe pain in your side, belly, or groin; pink or red urine; and nausea or vomiting.

Be sure to call Dr. Laub immediately if you believe that you might have kidney stones. In order to diagnose this condition, he may request a CT scan, ultrasound, blood test, and/or 24-hour urine collection.

The causes of kidney stones

The most common reason people get kidney stones is dehydration from not drinking enough water (about 8-10 glasses per day). Over time, this can result in a concentration of salts, minerals, and other crystal-forming substances—such as calcium, oxalate, and uric acid—that the fluid in urine cannot dilute effectively, leading to the formation of kidney stones.

The risk of developing kidney stones may also be related to genetics, dietary factors, certain medications or affected by diseases such as gout, diabetes, hypertension, inflammatory bowel disease, hyperparathyroidism, and other conditions.

Kidney stone treatment

Kidney Stone Treatment Santa Barbara Urologist David Laub

Generally, home treatment is suggested until the stones pass through your system. You’ll be advised to drink lots of water and other fluids, and possibly take an over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or stronger prescription for pain. Medication is sometimes prescribed to support the passage of kidney stones. 

For more complicated cases, surgery is rarely needed, although some stones require additional treatment if they get stuck in the urinary tract.

Dr. Laub specializes in two advanced minimally invasive techniques that are highly effective:

  • Shockwave Lithotripsy

    The most common treatment for kidney stones in the U.S. is shock wave lithotripsy, also called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. This approach targets the kidney or ureter with high-energy sound waves from outside the body, to break up crystallized minerals into tiny fragments called “stone dust” that can then pass via the urine. Dr. Laub performs this as an outpatient procedure. Read More

  • Holmium Laser Ureteroscopy

    Ureteroscopy—an increasingly popular, alternative method to shock wave lithotripsy—is offered by Dr. Laub to remove or break up kidney stones that have become lodged in the ureter, or sometimes for stones still in the kidney. A very narrow, lighted video imaging wand called a ureteroscope is passed up the urinary tract to the stone’s location. Using a flexible Holmium laser fiber inserted through the scope, Dr. Laub targets the stones with powerful laser pulses that break them into tiny pieces (a process known as lithotripsy), which can then be removed.... Read More
  • Percutaneous Nephrolithotripsy (PCNL)

    Percutaneous stone surgery is usually used for larger stones. A small hollow tube is placed directly through a patient’s back into the kidney through which larger instruments can then be used to fragment and extract the stone(s)..... Read More

Kidney Stone Prevention Management

Unfortunately, once you have had kidney stones, it increases the likelihood that you will experience them again; probably within seven years, if you don’t take preventive measures. The good news is, there are both medical and lifestyle options for kidney stone prevention management....Read More

Contact Dr. Laub’s office immediately with kidney stone symptoms for a prompt diagnosis and to discuss your options.