How are uric acid stones diagnosed?

  • A healthcare provider will take down your medical history.
  • A doctor will do a physical exam.
  • An X-ray or other imaging tests can be used to allow for a picture of the size, number, and location of stones.
  • If a stone is passed in the urine and can be retrieved, sending it to a laboratory for analysis can confirm what type of stone it is. Knowing the type of stone is helpful in the treatment and prevention. This is because each of the four major types of stones is treated differently.
  • Stones may be removed from the kidney or urinary tract by the following minimally invasive surgical techniques:
    • Shockwave lithotripsy involves breaking up the stone through external shock waves without entering the body.
    • A tiny scope is used to enter the ureter (the tube leading from each kidney to the bladder) and/or kidney through the urethra and breaking up the stone with a laser. The stone fragments can then be removed with a tiny basket.
    • Larger stones in the kidney can be removed through percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), which involves making a 1cm incision in the back and removing stones through a hollow, direct tract into the kidney.
  • Blood and urine can be tested for abnormal levels of specific chemicals.
  • Urine collection over a 24-hour period can determine the abnormal components in the urine and how much urine is being passed per day. If the urine volume is too low, the patient will be encouraged to drink more liquids to reach a target urine volume of 2.5L/day.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/03/2016.

References

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