Your kidneys remove waste products from the body, remove drugs from the body, balance the body's fluids, release hormones that regulate blood pressure and produce an active form of vitamin D. Tulane Medical Center's kidney specialists treat a wide range of kidney ailments and conditions, including:
- Acute renal failure
- Chronic kidney disease
- IgA nephropathy
- Kidney failure
- Kidney stones
- Nephrotic syndrome
- Renovascular hypertension
- Acute tubular necrosis
- Kidney cancer
- Kidney infection
- Kidney transplantation
- Polycystic kidneys
One of the more common kidney issues we treat are kidney stones, in which a solid, pebble-like piece of material forms in one or both of your kidneys when high levels of certain minerals are present in your urine. While uncomfortable, kidney stones rarely cause permanent damage if treated by a healthcare professional in a timely manner.
You may have a kidney stone if you feel a sharp pain in your back, side, lower abdomen, or groin; or if you have blood in your urine. Small stones that easily pass through your urinary tract may not cause any symptoms at all.
Many small kidney stones don't require invasive treatment and may be passed by drinking plenty of water and taking over-the-counter pain relievers or other medications.
Stones and deposits that can't be treated with non-invasive measures - because they're too large to pass or because they cause issues such as bleeding, kidney damage or ongoing urinary tract infections - may require more extensive treatments, such as:
Using sound waves to break up stones
For certain kidney stones—depending on their size and location—your doctor may recommend a procedure called shock wave lithotripsy. This procedure uses sound waves to create strong vibrations that break the stones into smaller pieces that can be passed in your urine.
Surgery to remove very large stones
A procedure known as percutaneous nephrolithotomy involves surgically removing a kidney stone using small imaging devices and other instruments inserted through a small incision in your back. Your doctor may recommend this surgery if shock wave lithotripsy was unsuccessful.
Using a scope to remove stones
To remove a smaller stone in your ureter or kidney, your physician may pass a thin, lighted tube, or ureteroscope, equipped with a camera through your urethra and bladder to your ureter. Once the stone is located, special tools can snare the stone or break it into pieces that will pass in your urine. Your doctor may then place a small tube (stent) in the ureter to relieve swelling and promote healing.
Parathyroid gland surgery
Sometimes, overactive parathyroid glands—which are located on the four corners of your thyroid gland—can cause calcium phosphate stones. When these glands produce too much parathyroid hormone, your calcium levels can become too high. Kidney stones may form as a result, requiring surgical intervention.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call the Tulane Urology Clinic at (504) 988-5271.