UW Research

Kidney stones can be extremely painful. Larger stones can get stuck, potentially leading to loss of the kidney, sepsis and even death. So in 700,000 procedures a year, kidney stones are shattered with sound waves or laser beams into smaller pieces that can naturally be flushed from the system. But pieces left behind often grow again, requiring an additional 100,000 operations a year at a cost totaling up to $1 billion.