Kidney Stones | Testing and Diagnosis

How are kidney stones diagnosed?

The first step in treating your child is forming an accurate and complete diagnosis. Our doctors can tell if your child has a kidney stone by looking at the urinary tract with an ultrasound or a CT scan. Ultrasound is our first diagnostic choice because there’s no radiation exposure. Our trained ultrasound technicians often can find the stone that’s causing your child trouble.

If the ultrasound is inconclusive — or if your child’s doctor has any questions about it — we might do a CT scan. A CT scan can help your child’s doctor locate the exact position and size of the stone for surgical planning.

During your appointment, you and your child will meet with a pediatric urologist and a pediatric nephrologist for a physical exam and discussion of your child’s health, including a review of current prescribed and over-the-counter medications and a detailed history of your child’s diet and fluid intake.

If your child passes a stone, try to recover it, place it in a plastic bag and bring it to your appointment, so that it can be sent out for chemical analysis. Several tests are also performed during the visit, including:

  • analysis of urine to assess for factors that contribute to stone formation, such as increased levels of calcium in the urine
  • blood tests to look for other risk factors
  • chemical analysis of the stone (if it has passed or has been removed) to identify the type of stone and provide important clues about why it formed.
  • evaluation for inherited disorders to look at risk factors (such as rare inherited disorders)

Once the tests are completed, you may be asked to return for a follow-up appointment.