Nephrolithiasis (the term employed for kidney stones), also known as renal calculi, is the most common condition affecting the urinary system. Kidney stones are not “stones” but rather crystal products formed in the kidneys. Ideally, these concretions will leave the body via the urethra without pain. Larger stones are painful and may need surgical intervention.
Understanding the etiology of various types of kidney stones and the criteria for surgical intervention will help stratify severity and guide management, which may also include dietary interventions. For example, a young child with kidney stones may present with cystinuria, and microscopic examination of the urine would be helpful in securing the diagnosis. On the other hand, a patient with a struvite stone and staghorn calculi should prompt investigation for certain bacterial UTIs.
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