Urologic Conditions & Treatments

Kidney Stones Treatment in Chattanooga TN

kidney stone treatmentYour symptoms, the size, location and type of kidney stones will determine the type of kidney stones treatment options that are available to you. If the kidney stone is too large, causes untreatable pain or dehydration, blocks the flow of urine, or accompanies an infection, surgery may be needed.

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How are kidney stones treated?

Most often, small kidney stones will pass out of your body through the urinary tract within 48 hours, with increased fluid intake and without treatment. Pain medications may be needed. To help stones pass on their own, medications such as tamsulosin (Flomax) may be prescribed to increase passage.


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Because stone disease is linked to systemic conditions, your urologist will perform a detailed medical and dietary history, conduct urinalysis, blood tests, metabolic studies and imaging studies.

Your urologist most commonly will recommend increased fluid intake, as dehydration is a key risk factor for stone formation. Because stones are linked to diet, your urologist will counsel you on dietary changes. Your urologist may also offer certain medications like diuretics.

For Uric Acid stones, you will be advised to modify your diet to limit your intake of non-dairy animal protein and may receive drugs to decrease your levels of uric acid. For uric acid and cysteine stones, you will be advised to modify your sodium and protein intake. You may be offered potassium citrate to increase the pH of urine.

What Medications are Available to Manage My Symptoms?

Once we analyze the types of stone or stones you are forming, we can prescribe certain medications to help you prevent future stones.

  • Calcium Stones — For these, we may prescribe a thiazide diuretic or phosphate-containing preparation.
  • Uric Acid Stones — Here, the need is to keep your urine more alkaline. Allopurinol can reduce uric acid levels, and may even dissolve uric acid stones.
  • Struvite Stones — This may involve long-term use of low doses of antibiotics.
  • Cystine Stones — Medications may decrease the amount of cystine in your urine, but these are the most difficult to treat this way.


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All surgical kidney stones treatment options are performed while you are asleep.

Shock Wave Lithotripsy

Shock Wave Lithotripsy is the use of high energy sound waves to pulverize the stones which can then be more easily passed. This is the most common kidney stones treatment option. It is best for stones smaller than 2 cm and stones that are not overly dense. Lithotripsy is noninvasive and is performed on an outpatient basis, but requires some sedation to reduce discomfort. Additionally, this procedure may allow you to have kidney stones treatment without a ureteral stent which may cause some minor discomfort and urinary symptoms. In some situations, you may require more than one lithotripsy to completely treat your stones. This procedure is not recommended for pregnant women, people with bleeding disorders, infections, skeletal abnormalities or the morbidly obese.

Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy

Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy is an endoscopic kidney stones treatment option to treat stones located anywhere in the urinary tract. Stones up to 2 cm in diameter may be treated effectively. These stones can be treated with use of a flexible ureteroscopy or rigid ureteroscope depending on stone position. With this procedure a small miniature fiberoptic camera (ureteroscope) is inserted in the urethra and up into the kidney. A Holmium laser is used to break the stones in to small fragments. These fragments are extracted by the ureteroscope with a small basket. It is an outpatient procedure under general or spinal anesthesia. Because the ureter swells during the surgery, a small stent (hollow tube) may be placed in the kidney to facilitate urine flow postoperatively. The stent is removed at home if strings are left on the stent or subsequently at a follow-up visit. This treatment option also offers the highest success rate to have your stone removed with one procedure.

Percutaneous Nephrolithotripsy

Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy is an endoscopic means of removing large stones. This kidney stones treatment requires a small, less than 2 cm, incision in the back. The stones are broken up with ultrasound or laser treatment. A hollow tube is inserted. The crushed stone is removed through this tube. This procedure is used for large and irregularly shaped stones (usually larger than 1.5cm – about the size of a marble), for people with infections, for people who are not candidates for ureteroscopy and for those whose stones cannot be broken up by extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. This kidney stones treatment option requires general anesthesia, and highly specialized surgeons, like those at the UT Urology.

Robotic Surgery Using the Da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System

Robotic Surgery using the da Vinci® Robotic Surgical System is minimally invasive, offers less pain, blood loss, scarring and faster recovery. It is a specialized form of minimally invasive surgery using a robotic arm, a camera, a 3D imaging processor and remote control. It is very precise and is ideal for delicate urologic surgery. Stones removed by the robot are usually performed in conjunction with another robotic procedure.

Open Surgery

Open surgery is rare, but may be needed if other methods fail. Surgery may be required where the stones are damaging kidney tissue, causing recurring urinary tract infections, blocking the flow of urine or are significantly large.


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Which method of kidney stones treatment surgery should I choose?

Your urologist at UT Urology will discuss your options for removing your kidney stone if attempts to pass the stone with pain medication and increased fluid intake are unsuccessful. We will discuss your surgical options: shock wave lithotripsy, ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy, percutaneous nephrolithotripsy, robotic surgery, or open surgery (used only if other options fail). Certain options may suit your type of stone better. Size may dictate one option over another. This will all be a part of the discussion on how to proceed.

Can kidney stones be prevented?

It is most beneficial to increase your water intake and make changes in your diet. Drinking lemon juice may be helpful. Studies suggest that a healthy intake of dairy products reduces kidney stone formation, but the use of calcium supplements may increase the risk. A normal calcium diet is suggested. High salt and high sugar diets may be bad for kidney stones. Obesity is related to kidney stones. Sometimes medicines can be used to decrease the risk of developing new stones. If a stone has passed and can be analyzed in a lab, the lab can determine the type of stone so that specific prevention methods can be used.


At UT Urology, we have four doctors who specialize in various aspects of kidney stone development and surgical removal. This expertise not only comes into play when removing a current stone, but also in the prevention of future stones.

The providers at UT Urology are widely respected among the U.S. urology community and are regional leaders in providing state of the art diagnosis and treatment of all genito-urinary conditions. We have been chosen to be a teaching/research site for development and assessment of new endoscopic stone management technologies. We hope that through this research we will find better ways to minimize pain and recovery from stone disease while maximizing success and patient satisfaction. We are top rated kidney stone specialists in Chattanooga, Tennessee, Alabama and North Georgia area. Contact us with your concerns. We will listen, answer your questions, explain your condition and provide stellar services to address your specific needs.

Contact Us Today! We treat patients suffering from kidney stones in Chattanooga, Cleveland, East Ridge and the greater Chattanooga area, including North Georgia and Winchester. If you are interested in scheduling an appointment, please call our office or fill out our contact form to schedule a consultation.


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