Kidney Stones in Children | Testing & Diagnosis

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Contact the Department of Urology

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 his urinary tract with 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.

This is a non-invasive procedure that uses x-ray equipment and powerful computers to create detailed, cross-sectional images of your child's urinary tract. A CT scan can help your child’s doctor locate the exact position and size of the stone for surgical planning.

What should we expect during our visit to the Kidney Stone Program?

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.

Please be sure to bring a detailed list of all of your child’s medications, including over-the-counter medications or supplements. If it’s more convenient, you may bring the medications themselves instead of making a list.

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

  • 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.

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

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