Kidney Stones

Kidney stones occur in one in 11 people at some time in their life. The majority of small stones are likely to pass spontaneously within 48 hours. However, some stones do not. More complex procedures may be required to remove kidney stones that do not pass.

Kidney stones are often the result of underlying conditions and illnesses, which are routinely treated at UT Southwestern Medical Center.

These include:

  • Cystinuria
  • Dehydration
  • Hyperparathyroidism


UT Southwestern’s Kidney Stones Program provides patients with effective kidney stone treatments at one of the nation’s leading health care facilities. Depending on the patient’s specific situation, our attentive and caring specialists can prescribe medications, dietary recommendations, a minimally invasive procedure, or traditional surgery to treat kidney stones.

Our approach to the diagnosis and treatment of kidney stone disease is featured in specialty textbooks and has been adopted by practicing physicians and researchers in the field of kidney stone disease worldwide.

Depending on the patient’s specific situation, our attentive and caring specialists can prescribe medications, dietary recommendations, or a minimally invasive procedure. Traditional surgery may be recommended to treat stones that are either too large to pass through the urinary tract or have the potential to produce complications such as kidney damage, bleeding, or persistent urinary tract infections.

Our specialists may also use extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), a procedure which uses shock waves to break up the stones while the patient sits in a tub of water. Stone fragments or sand-like particles are later passed through the urine.

If the stones are too large for ESWL therapy, our specialists may use a percutaneous nephrolithotomy procedure, which uses a small incision and a nephroscope to view the stones, break them up using ultrasound or laser technology, and then extract the fragments.

For stones that have become blocked in the ureter, UT Southwestern specialists pass a tiny ureteroscope through the bladder into the ureter and break up the stones using ultrasound, laser, or an electrohydraulic lithotripsy approach.

Kidney Stone Medication Developed at UTSW

Charles Y.C. Pak, M.D. and his research team have studied more than 3,000 kidney stone patients and another 3,500 individuals with osteoporosis during the past three decades.

Their findings have culminated in the development of several drugs used worldwide – including Citracal for the prevention of osteoporosis and Urocit-K for the control of kidney stones – as well as widely recognized diagnostic methods for measuring the risk factors for kidney stones.

Our clinicians and researchers continually investigate new ways to help prevent kidney stones while also developing innovative treatments for their speedy and painless removal.

Our Specialists

The kidney stone specialists at UT Southwestern have the knowledge and experience to provide patients with the highest-quality health care, including the accurate diagnosis, effective treatment, and ongoing management of kidney stones.

Our caring and compassionate specialists use UT Southwestern’s state-of-the-art medical resources to provide diagnostic examinations and effective treatments for kidney stones.