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Kidney stones - Complications of kidney stones

The most common complication of kidney stones is that they may recur.

Other complications are rare because kidney stones are usually identified and treated before problems can occur. However, if a blockage occurs, there is a risk of infection, which in rare cases can damage your kidney.

Recurring kidney stones

People who have passed one kidney stone are thought to have:

  • a 20% chance of having another one within five years
  • a 35% chance of having another one within 10 years
  • a 70% chance of having another one within 20 years

The best way to help prevent recurring kidney stones is to drink plenty of water every day to avoid dehydration.

Read more about preventing kidney stones.

Complications of treatment

The different kinds of treatment for larger stones may cause some complications. Your surgeon should explain these to you before you have the procedure.

Read more about treating kidney stones.

Possible complications will depend on which treatment you have, and the size and position of your stones. Complications could include:

  • sepsis – an infection that spreads through the blood, causing symptoms throughout the whole body
  • steinstrasse – this is the medical name for a blockage caused by fragments of stone in the ureter (the tube that attaches each kidney to the bladder)
  • an injury to the ureter
  • urinary tract infection (UTI)
  • bleeding during surgery
  • pain

It is estimated that 5-9% of people may experience complications after having ureterorenoscopy.


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