Diagnosis

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Kidney stones most commonly cause pain when the stone moves from the kidney into the ureter which leads to the bladder.  Symptoms can include nausea, vomiting, and back and abdominal pain.  Some people will see blood in their urine and experience burning when with urination.  The symptoms can be sudden and debilitating. 

Diagnosis is best confirmed with radiology imaging.  These tests can be as simple as an xray of the kidneys to more complex 3 dimensional CT images (see image on Home page).  The choice of test depends on the circumstances.  For example, in pregnant patients we avoid CT scans and prefer ultrasound which has no radiation.  In the emergency room, we usually employ standard CT scans.

Below are 2 images an intravenous pyelogram which involves the injection of intravenous dye (contrast) which fills the kidneys, ureters and bladder (left) and a CT with an arrow pointing to the stone (right image).