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Pediatric Nephrology - Kidney Stones

​​​​​​​​​​Kidney stones are the result of the build-up of salts and minerals such as calcium in the urinary tract. 

If kidney stones are large enough to block the kidney, they can cause severe pain. 

Kidney stones usually pass on their own but in some cases they need to be treated with other means. 

Marshfield Clinic is the only provider in northern and central Wisconsin with specialists trained in treating kidney stones in children.


A Marshfield Clinic doctor will evaluate your child's condition to recommend the best plan for treatment of kidney stones. There are a few different options that could be recommended:

The most common treatment of all types of kidney stones is a low sodium diet combined with optimal hydration. The pediatric nephrology team will combine appropriate evaluation of causes of kidney stones with dietary recommendations.


  • Calcium stones are the most common type of stones in North American children. Many children have abnormal excretion of calcium, oxalate or citrate. Dietary changes along with medications may significantly decrease the risk of further stones.
  • Uric acid stones are caused by too much uric acid in the urine. These stones can be dissolved with medication and dietary changes.
  • Cystine stones are caused by too much cystine (an amino acid) in your urine. Like uric acid stones, cystine stones can be dissolved using medications.
  • Infection stones are caused by kidney or bladder infections that change the chemical balance of your urine. Antibiotics control the infection and may slow the stone's growth so it can be removed.​​​​


  • Open surgery removes very large stones or ones that cannot be removed by medication. For this surgery, the doctor makes an incision in the child's side, the stone is removed and the kidney is sutured closed.
  • Percutaneous lithotripsy removes larger stones through a small incision. The doctor places a tube through your incision. When the stone is found it is broken up if needed, and removed.
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Take the Kidney Stone Quiz

Kidney stones are one of the most common problems of the urinary tract—and one of the most painful disorders. How much do you know about kidney stones? Try your hand at this quiz, based on information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

1. Most kidney stones pass through a person's urinary tract without any medical intervention.
2. Anyone can develop kidney stones.
3. A kidney stone forms from chemicals that the body is trying to get rid of.
4. A urinary tract infection can put you at risk for developing kidney stones.
5. The pain from a kidney stone comes on gradually, growing more and more intense.
6. Most kidney stones large enough to cause pain must be removed surgically.
7. Drinking plenty of water can help prevent the recurrence of kidney stones.
8. Some kidney stones can be removed by using shockwaves.