Conditions + Treatments

What are kidney stones?

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No parent wants to watch their child suffer—and passing a kidney stone can be extremely painful. The good news is that there are some basic things you can do to reduce the chances of your child developing kidney stones.

If your child needs treatment, you’re in the right place. The Kidney Stone Program at Boston Children’s Hospital has expert doctors and innovative techniques to treat the stones your child has, and help prevent new stones from forming.

While kidney stones are still relatively uncommon in children, the number of cases is growing. Kidney stones are small, hard deposits of mineral and acid salts formed within the urinary tract, which can obstruct the drainage of urine and may cause intense pain and some children may have nausea and vomiting.

There are many different kinds of stones, with calcium oxalate and calcium phosphate stones being most common. There are other less common types of kidney stones.

Most of the time, stones are found in the kidney or ureter (the tube that connects the kidney with the bladder). Many stones pass all by themselves, without treatment; others will need to be removed, which can often be done using a noninvasive method.

How Boston Children's Hospital treats kidney stones

Boston Children’s has established a pediatric Kidney Stone Program, because more and more children are developing kidney stones. We see children who’ve had kidney stones and those who are at risk for developing them.

Your child will see both a pediatric urologist and a pediatric nephrologists at the same appointment. This multidisciplinary approach allows for direct collaboration between the two specialists to optimize your child’s care and work together to develop a treatment plan—in real time.

We can treat stones in several ways, depending on the size, location, number and composition of the stones. In nearly all children, we can treat these stones with noninvasive or minimally invasive surgical techniques; in rare instances, we can use robotic surgery techniques to remove the stones.

The best treatment is prevention. Your child will receive a metabolic evaluation to determine if he or she has risk factors for future kidney stones. We then prescribe individualized treatment plans to prevent new stones from forming, and monitor your child with urine and blood tests and sometimes ultrasound exams.

We are grateful to have been ranked #1 on U.S. News & World Report's list of the best children's hospitals in the nation for the third year in a row, an honor we could not have achieved without the patients and families who inspire us to do our very best for them. Thanks to you, Boston Children's is a place where we can write the greatest children's stories ever told.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO

Boston Children's Hospital 300 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115 617-355-6000 | 800-355-7944

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