Kidney Stone Analysis

What is Kidney Stone Analysis?

Kidney stone analysis is a laboratory technique used to identify the composition of small stones passed from the urinary tract. This type of analysis provides valuable information about the composition of these stones and helps individuals learn about risk factors and treatments for them.

Preparation & Procedure

When you receive a kidney stone, it is important to put it in a container with some preservative, ideally while still wet, but it can also be refrigerated for up to 48 hours. Your doctor will need to perform a quick examination and make arrangements for an analysis.

The analysis is usually performed in a laboratory and the sample is ground to powder using a machine before being sent for laboratory analysis.

In some cases, the results of the analysis can be obtained the same day. Otherwise, results can take a few days.

Types of Kidney Stones

Kidney stones can be composed of various substances including calcium oxalate, calcium phosphate, uric acid, struvite, and cystine. Each type of kidney stone varies in composition and may require a different treatment plan.

  • Calcium Oxalate stones – These are the most common type of stone, and are mostly caused by too much calcium in the diet, or too much oxalate.
  • Uric acid stones – Uric acid stones are typically caused by high amounts of uric acid in the body due to extreme dehydration.
  • Struvite stones – Struvite stones are usually caused by urinary tract infection, and are composed of magnesium, ammonium, and phosphate.
  • Cystine stones – These are the rarest types of stones, made up of cystine, an amino acid.

Why is Kidney Stone Analysis Important?

Kidney stone analysis is a useful tool to understand the cause of kidney stones and can ultimately lead to preventative care. For example, if a stone is composed of calcium oxalate, lifestyle changes such as reducing sodium in the diet and increasing fluid intake may help reduce the risk of more stones forming.

Risks & Complications

Kidney stone analysis does not pose a great risk to the patient, but there may be some discomfort while passing the stone. If larger stones are being passed, it is important to drink plenty of fluids to help reduce any pain.

When Should Kidney Stone Analysis Be Performed?

Kidney stone analysis should be performed whenever a kidney stone is discovered, regardless of size. Kidney stone analysis is the best way to understand the cause and use treatment options that are most effective for the individual, based on the composition of the stones.