Kidney Stones | Testing and Diagnosis

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Contact the Department of Urology

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.

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