Why Choose Us for Kidney Stone Care?

Our Multidisciplinary Team

The University of Chicago Medicine’s kidney stone management team is composed of a diverse group of healthcare professionals including:

  • Urologists (surgical specialists who treat kidney conditions)
  • Nephrologists (medical specialists who treat conditions involving the kidneys)
  • Radiologists
  • Researchers
  • Clinical nurse specialists
  • Nutritionists
  • Laboratory technicians

Patients get a collective opinion from our team of internationally renowned healthcare specialists. These specialists then make appropriate recommendations -- taking each patient's unique medical history and condition into consideration before developing a course of treatment that is tailored to the individual patient. Patients may receive this expert care at either the main campus location or at the north campus location.

Treatment Options

There is a wide array of treatment options available to those suffering from kidney stones. Because most people seek treatment when they are in significant pain and when surgery is the only option, we are proud to offer the latest innovative surgical options for these patients. Our urologists are experts in minimally invasive and non-invasive approaches to stone and kidney surgery, including shock wave and laser lithotripsy, percutaneous, and laparoscopic surgery. They also specialize in endourology and all aspects of surgical renal disease. With the latest advances in invasive and non-invasive procedures, conventional surgery is required only in very few cases. Minimally invasive procedures are advantageous because they involve shorter hospital stays, significantly reduced pain, and faster recovery times. In fact, a majority of these surgeries can be done on an outpatient basis.

Patient in hospital rooms talks with nurse.

For the medical treatment of kidney stones, our nephrologists are specialists in the field of all aspects of kidney disease, kidney stones, and the metabolic evaluation and prevention of stones. Together, our urologists and nephrologists develop an individualized strategy for the most effective way to treat the stones and then develop a course of treatment that will prevent the stones from recurring and fit the patient's lifestyle.

Prevention of Kidney Stones and Recurrence

Patients who suffer from kidney stones are likely to develop them again. That's why our team is committed to not only treating the kidney stones, but preventing their recurrence and growth. In helping to prevent the formation of stones, doctors perform a medical, metabolic, nutritional, and lifestyle assessment, as well as analyze specimens of a patient's actual kidney stones, blood, and urine to get an idea of the exact mechanism of stone formation and to set a course of treatment. About 75 percent of our patients take medication to help prevent stone formation.

In addition, depending on stone composition, doctors can make dietary recommendations, such as foods to avoid in the future, and set up nutritional guidelines that fit the patient's lifestyle. For example, calcium oxalate is the most common crystal found in stones. When too much calcium oxalate accumulates in the urine, crystals form and a kidney stone can develop. Doctors have found that patients who are already susceptible to forming stones should limit intake of foods high in oxalate -- such as broccoli, spinach, asparagus, rhubarb, oranges, various berries, apples, grapes, pineapples, beer, coffee, tea, cocoa, cola drinks, and pepper, among other foods.

Research and Future Breakthroughs

Physicians and researchers at the University of Chicago are at the forefront of innovations in the latest medical advances for the treatment of kidney stones. Our physicians have discovered that an anti-inflammatory protein called calgranulin may play a key role in the prevention of kidney stones. They found that calgranulin is present in the kidney and human urine and can -- even in minute amounts -- stop the growth of calcium oxalate crystals, a major component of kidney stones. Measuring calgranulin levels in urine could become a new diagnostic tool for determining if a patient is at high risk for forming kidney stones.

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For more information on the kidney stone prevention program, please call (773) 702-1475.