Kidney Stones: Then And Now

The term kidney stone can bring back painful memories for those who have experienced one. These painful pebbles are one of the most common urinary tract disorders, causing more than half a million visits to the emergency room each year.

What is a Kidney Stone?

A kidney stone is a hard mass that develops from crystals that separate
from the urine. They occur in people of all ages, increasingly being seen in children and are more common in men than women. However, once a person has a kidney stone, the likelihood of experiencing another one increases drastically. The biggest risk factor for kidney stones is dehydration. Certain foods may contribute to stone formation and family history may also play an important role.

Gwinnett Medical Center understands that kidney stones can bring life to a screeching halt. Unlike the old days, when the only thing to do was to bear the pain until the stone passed, today our physicians and staff offer three treatment options. These are all minimally invasive and offer short recovery times.

Treatment Options Today

Shock wave lithotripsy is offered for patients who have kidney stones that are slightly smaller than half an inch and are located near the kidney. The procedure involves using ultrasonic waves to break up the stone into small particles that will pass from the body in the urine.

Endoscopic stone retrieval may be another option. This procedure is used for a stone that is located mid-urinary tract or lower-urinary tract. During this procedure a small fiber optic instrument goes through the urethra and bladder into the ureter, at which point the surgeon either removes the stone with a basket type device or shatters the stone with a laser.

Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is used when a stone is large and located in the kidney or upper ureter. During this procedure, a tiny incision is made in the back and a tunnel is created directly to the kidney where the surgeon locates and removes the kidney stone from the body.

“We have everything available to treat kidney stones.” says Howard Goldberg, MD, a board-certified urologist at Gwinnett Medical Center, “We have state-of-the-art equipment and there really is nothing we can’t do to treat a kidney stone."

Kidney stones used to stop you in your tracks, but they don’t have to now. Gwinnett Medical Center is here to offer the latest in kidney stone treatments.

For more information on kidney stones or to find a urologist at Gwinnett Medical Center call 678-312-5000 or visit


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