Slideshow: Kidney Stone Pictures

Reviewed by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, Chief Medical Editor on Thursday, July 17, 2008

A kidney stone is a hard mass developed from crystals that
separate from the urine and build up on the inner surfaces of the kidney.

This example of a large kidney stone has razor-sharp crystalline edges.

The most common cause of kidney stones is not drinking enough water.

This illustration shows the path a kidney stone takes to pass through the urinary system.

The number of people in the United States with
kidney stones has been increasing over the past 30 years.

The number of people in the United States with kidney stones has been increasing over the past 30 years.

Symptoms and signs of a kidney stone include excruciating, cramping pain
in the lower back and/or side, groin, or abdomen as well as blood in the urine.

Kidney stone symptoms include excruciating, cramping pain in the low back and/or side, groin, or abdomen as well as blood in the urine.

A helical CT scan without contrast material is the most
common test to detect stones or obstruction within the urinary tract.

A helical CT scan without contrast material is the most common test to detect stones or obstruction within the urinary tract.

Depending on the size, most stones
eventually pass on their own within 48 hours.

Depending on the size, most stones eventually pass on their own within 48 hours.

For kidney stones that do not pass on their own, a shock wave procedure
called lithotripsy is often used to break up a large stone into smaller pieces to pass.

For kidney stones that do not pass on their own, a shock wave procedure<br /> called lithotripsy is often used to break up a large stone into smaller pieces to pass.

To help prevent kidney stones, drink enough water to keep your urine clear.

To help prevent kidney stones, drink enough water to keep your urine clear.

Dietary choices can affect kidney stone development.

Dietary choices can affect kidney stone development.

Weight gain can increase the risk of kidney stones.

Weight gain can increase the risk of kidney stones.

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