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Ultrasound is the simplest imaging test. ‘Jelly’ is placed on the side and front of your tummy which allows the radiologist to slide a probe over your skin. It uses sound waves to generate an image. There is no radiation used and therefore it is safe, even for pregnant ladies. It can miss some stones.

CT scanning gives much more detail but does utilise radiation. Performed without contrast injection it is the best test to look for stones and will define the number, size and position within the urinary tract. If intravenous contrast is also given then even more detail is available. This is helpful to define precise anatomy and to assess other abnormalities in more detail. This scan takes between 10 & 30 minutes. The patient lies on a narrow bed that is moved through a large white ring (often likened to a large polo mint!)

Nuclear medicine scans are used to define the split function between kidneys (normal is approx 50:50 for left and right kidney). They can also help define if a kidney is obstructed

Simple Urine and Blood Tests

Urine can be dip tested in the clinic looking for blood or evidence of infection. A formal microscopic analysis and culture can be performed in the laboratory if required.

Basic blood parameters such as renal function, calcium and uric acid levels can be checked with a blood sample taken in clinic and the results are usually available within 24 hours

Screening For Recurrent or Complex Stone Disease

We do offer a detailed stone screening service via Dr Paul Cook (Consultant in Chemical Pathology and Metabolic Medicine) where more blood and urine tests (often including a 24 hour collection of urine into a large pot) are performed. This can be especially useful in patients with recurrent stones, family history of stones, diabetes mellitus, obesity, certain anatomical and metabolic abnormalities (such as single kidney, crohn’s disease or previous bowel surgery etc.)

This can provide the rationale for medical prevention therapy and bespoke dietary advice.