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Urinary stones or calculi are concretions formed within the urinary tract by the crystallization of one or more substances normally found within the urine. These calculi can be found anywhere within the urinary tract from the kidneys, ureters, and bladder. Most often these stones are formed within the kidney and travel down the ureter towards the bladder causing a sudden sharp intense pain along the flank which radiates towards the groin. Kidney stone pain is often intermittent and crescendo in nature and associated with nausea and vomiting. This complex of symptoms is commonly referred to as renal colic. Kidney stone patients often note difficulty finding a comfortable position and therefore move continuously to try to "shake off" the pain. The natural course of kidney stones without treatment must be balanced against the relatively limited risks of treatment that are now possible with non-surgical techniques. Kidney stones that are more than 1 cm. in size (about 1/2 an inch) within the kidney will rarely pass through the urinary system without complications. Therefore, treatment is recommended for kidney stones larger than 1 cm (and many smaller stones within the kidney.) Dr. Joseph J. Del Pizzo is Director of the Brady Stone Center and a Cornell Urology physician. He is a fellowship trained endourologist who has helped to develop a number of minimally invasive techniques adopted around the world for treatment of kidney and other stone diseases.
For more information, please visit the KIDNEY STONES SECTION OF OUR DEPARTMENT WEBSITE.