ROBERT SALANT, MD: These are examples of stone fragments that were obtained after a larger stone was treated by breaking the stone up into smaller pieces which were then able to pass down the ureter and out through the body causing much less blockage and much less pain.
PAUL MONIZ: These will be passed out through someone's urine?
ROBERT SALANT, MD: Absolutely.
PAUL MONIZ: These are rather large pieces to pass through someone's urethra. Would it be extremely painful for that to pass through someone's urethra?
ROBERT SALANT, MD: In fact, the answer is: The narrowest part of the urinary track is the area where the tube calls the ureter enters into the bladder. Once a stone passes that narrow point and enters the bladder, it's no longer creating blockage and therefore, no longer creating pain. The remainder of the passage out through the body usually occurs without much difficulty. A patient may feel this come out, but is usually able to urinate a stone this size out.
PAUL MONIZ: Dr. Salant, what are the dangers of just not doing anything and just living with the pain, so to speak?
ROBERT SALANT, MD: Most stones can be relatively asymptomatic and relatively pain free. Probably 80 percent of stones do not need to be removed or treated. However, in the stones that are symptomatic, they can lead to several things. Number one, the stone may continue to grow, which may lead to obstruction, which can lead to pain, fever and infection. The stones may also lead to kidney damage if they go untreated for a long period of time.
PAUL MONIZ: So it's important that people keep tabs on those symptoms and get to their doctor if they're unsure?
ROBERT SALANT, MD: Absolutely, if there's any question, just get evaluated. You may be pleasantly surprised and find that you don't need to be treated. Usually the initial step is just hydration.
PAUL MONIZ: Very good information. Dr. Robert Salant, thank you for your time. Dr. Jon Marks, for your time as well. I'm Paul Moniz. Thank you for joining us. Remember that kidney stones are common, affecting about 10 percent of the American population at one point or another. Thanks for being with us.