Kidney Stone Disease and Treatment

Kidney stone disease occurs when a hard deposit forms in your kidney. If the stone is large, it can block the flow of urine out of the body and cause pain and other symptoms. At Cedars-Sinai, our kidney stone specialist treats the problem with expert care and can help prevent future stones from forming.

What Is a Kidney Stone?

A kidney stone develops from small crystals that build up in the kidney. Normally, urine contains substances that prevent these crystals from forming. But the stones can still form. If they're small enough, they can pass through the body without causing any symptoms.

However, if they grow larger, they may get stuck in the urinary tract—either in the ureter, bladder or urethra. If that happens, you may experience pain along with difficulty urinating.


Symptoms of kidney stones may be similar to symptoms of other conditions. Talk with your provider if you notice pain in your back or side, changes in urination (such as urinating more frequently or painful urination) or urine that appears cloudy or odorous.

Our expert team performs a thorough diagnosis, including:

Blood Tests

These tests assess your kidney function and look for substances that may cause stones to form.

CT Scan

This advanced X-ray scan provides us with detailed images of the kidney and surrounding area.

Renal Ultrasound

This noninvasive imaging scan helps us see the size and shape of the kidney, as well as locate tumors, stones or other blockages.


We check your urine for substances that indicate kidney stones. We may perform a 24-hour urine test to determine if you have risk factors for kidney stone formation.

Intravenous Pyelogram (IVP)

We use a combination of X-rays and dye to check blood flow to the kidney and find tumors, kidney stones and blockages.


We find the kidney stone treatment that is right for you. Our team has experience in a range of methods that can effectively treat the stone and help you feel better. The right treatment depends on the kidney stone size and your overall health.

Treatments include:

We may prescribe potassium citrate tablets to treat stones made of calcium and urate. You take the tablets with plenty of fluids. The citrate helps dissolve and drain the stone.

We use minimally invasive surgery to break up the stone using soundwaves. The sound waves create strong vibrations that shatter the stones into tiny pieces. The pieces can then easily pass into your urine.

We insert a long wire with a camera attached into the urethra. We then pass the wire through the bladder to the ureter, where the stone is located. Using a tiny instrument, we grab and remove the stone.

During this kidney stone surgery, we make a small incision in your back, creating a narrow tunnel to the stone inside the kidney. Our expert surgeons can remove the stone through this tunnel.

We can recommend changes to your diet and certain medications that may prevent more stones from forming.

Have Questions or Need Help?

To make an appointment or refer a patient, call the Department of Urology team. You can also have us call you back at your convenience.

Monday–Friday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Pacific Time (U.S.)
Available 7 days a week, 6 am - 9 pm PT