Kidney stone specialists with Duke's nationally ranked urology program use the latest medical advances to diagnose and remove kidney stones. We are among the top five percent of medical centers performing minimally invasive surgical procedures to remove kidney stones. Our goal is to help you return to pain-free, normal activity quickly, and work with you to prevent kidney stones from recurring.
Kidney stone removal and prevention
If you suffer the painful symptoms associated with kidney stones, you are not alone. The National Kidney Foundation estimates one in ten people will develop a kidney stone in their lifetime. The stones form when chemicals in the urine crystallize. Painful symptoms occur when the stones block the flow of urine, and cause it to build up in the kidney, ureter, or bladder.
Our urologists helped develop the minimally invasive techniques now considered the gold standard for kidney stone removal. We use the latest technology available to diagnose your type of kidney stone, determine its cause, and identify any conditions -- obesity, diabetes, or osteoporosis -- that require treatment in order to prevent kidney stones from recurring. Kidney stones increase your risk of chronic kidney disease. Our goal is to quickly return you to a pain-free life, and minimize your risk for kidney-related problems in the future.
Choose Duke to remove your kidney stone because we offer:
- Nationally ranked program. Our urology program is ranked among the nation’s best by U.S. News & World Report, and our doctors are consistently recognized for their experience and expertise, including their role in developing the minimally invasive surgical options now considered the gold standard for kidney stone removal.
- Advanced imaging techniques. Digital tomosynthesis is a new technology that lets our radiologists view kidney stones from multiple angles while limiting the amount of radiation exposure.
- Kidney stone prevention education. If you are at risk for recurrent kidney stones, our urologists work closely with you to identify their cause, and educate you about preventive treatment options, including dietary changes and medications.
- Comprehensive care reduces kidney stone treatment complications. Our comprehensive approach to kidney stone treatment reduces the likelihood that you will experience complications following your procedure. If complications occur, our clinic provides rapid access to expert care to treat your symptoms.
- team of kidney stone specialists. Your team includes urologists, anesthesiologists and radiologists who work together to give you the best possible treatment. Because of our combined skills and access to the latest technology and facilities, we often treat patients who are turned away by other centers that may not be equipped to remove kidney stones due to their size or location.
- Leaders in kidney stone research and treatment. We were one of the first centers to test the laser technology that is commonly used to break down kidney stones, and we continue to be at the forefront of designing and developing safer, more effective methods for kidney stone removal. As a result, you have access to the latest advances in treatment, often before they become available at other centers.
- Convenient care when you need it. We can see you at convenient locations at Duke Urology of Raleigh, and at Duke Urology in Durham. Our urologists work hard to prevent patients from visiting the emergency room for kidney stone pain.
Our urologists have access to the latest equipment and technology for the treatment of kidney stones, regardless of the kidney stone’s size or location.
Not every kidney stone patient needs surgery. If a kidney stone is relatively small and not causing pain, patients may naturally pass kidney stones with help from medication and guidance from their urologist.
May help your body pass the stone or prevent future stones. The medication depends on the type of kidney stone you have.
A soft, water-filled cushion is placed on your back, behind the kidney stone during this common outpatient procedure. Shockwaves pass through the skin to break kidney stones into smaller, dust-like pieces which pass out of the kidney in urine.
An outpatient procedure for kidney stones in the ureter or kidney. A small scope with a camera on its tip is inserted in the ureter and allows your doctor to look for the stones. A laser may be used to break the stones into small pieces, which are then removed. Our physicians perform close to 400 ureteroscopic surgeries every year, placing our volume in the top five percent of kidney stone treatment centers.
If your kidney stone is two centimeters, about the size of a marble, or larger, you may require a procedure called percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Your surgeon inserts a tube with a camera at its end through one small incision in your back, views the kidney stone, breaks it up, and removes the small pieces. Most patients stay in the hospital one night and leave stone-free.
When appropriate, kidney stones may be removed using robotic surgery or laparoscopically through a number of small incisions. These are typically reserved for patients with very complex kidney stones, for patients with kidneys in abnormal positions, or for patients with existing kidney-related health conditions.
24-hour, at-home urine collection allows urologists to determine the cause of your kidney stones and provide appropriate treatments. The results can also guide our recommendations for dietary changes and medications to help prevent future occurrences.
Digital tomosynthesis is a new technology that creates multiple X-ray images from a single X-ray test. It allows radiologists to view kidney stones in more detail than a traditional X-ray. Low dose CT scans may also be used. This type of CT is used specifically for the diagnosis of kidney stones, and helps reduce the amount of radiation patients are exposed to.