At the International Kidney Stone Institute, our goal is nothing less than the cure.


How are kidney stones treated?

Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, Indiana (the clinical arm of the International Kidney Stone Institute) uses a two-step approach to kidney stone treatment.  The first step focuses on treatment of the existing stones, and the second step involves preventing the formation of new stones. Click Preventative Treatment to learn more about stone prevention.

The majority of small kidney stones (< 5 mm in diameter) will pass out of the urinary tract without treatment. Stone passage may be improved by increasing the amount of fluid intake. A patient may be asked to strain his or her urine to collect a stone for analysis.

Determining the composition of a stone will provide important information for the preventative phase of the treatment plan.  Some conditions may exist that may require intervention, even for small stones.  For example, surgery may be necessary if there is only one kidney, poor overall kidney function, and total blockage of urine flow or coexisting infection.  While attempting to pass a stone, conservative treatment such as pain medication, fluids and rest may be prescribed.  In addition, recent studies have suggested that a class of medications, known as alpha blockers, may increase the likelihood of spontaneous passage of a stone located in lower ureter.  Alpha blockers are commonly prescribed for the treatment of the enlarged prostate in men, and include medications such as Tamsulosin (Flomax), Terazosin (Hytrin), and Doxazosin (Cardura).

Surgical intervention will most likely be needed if a stone does not pass after a four to six-week period.  Other factors that help determine the appropriate treatment of existing stones include their number, size, location and composition.   If treatment is necessary, there are several methods of stone removal.

If you would like to have IKSI review your case, please send your information to