KidsMD Health Topics

Pediatric Kidney Stones in Children

  • If your child has had kidney stones, you know how upsetting they can be. No parent wants to watch her 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 help your child pass the stone with a minimum of pain.

    Here’s what you need to know about kidney stones:

    • 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. There are many different kinds of stones, with calcium, oxalate, uric acid and phosphate being the most common components.
    • They can obstruct the drainage of urine and frequently cause intense pain.
    • Most of the time, stones are found in the kidney or ureter (the tube that connects the kidney with the bladder).
    • Key symptoms are pain accompanied by blood in the urine. Some children may have nausea and vomiting.
       
    • 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

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

    At our innovative program, 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 very robotic surgery techniques to remove the stones.

    The best treatment is prevention. Your child will receive a metabolic evaluation to determine if he 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.


    Kidney stones: Reviewed by Bartley Cilento, MD, MPH.
    © Children’s Hospital Boston, 2010

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