Kidney Stones Specialist

Advanced Urology of Sarasota, LLC

Gerard A. Curtis, MD

Board Certified Urologist located in Sarasota, FL & Lakewood Ranch, FL

Almost 20% of men and 10% of women have a kidney stone at some point. When you have terrible pain from active kidney stones, your first priority is undoubtedly fast relief. At Advanced Urology of Sarasota, LLC, urologist Gerard Curtis, MD, is a board-certified kidney stone expert who offers a variety of treatments, including laser lithotripsy, shock wave lithotripsy, and percutaneous nephrolithotripsy. Call the Sarasota, Florida, office or book an appointment online for help today.

Kidney Stones Q&A

What are kidney stones?

Kidney stones are small, hard pebbles of mineral and salt deposits inside your kidney. About 80% of kidney stones are calcium oxalate, which you produce in your liver. Calcium oxalate also occurs in many foods, including nuts and chocolate. 

Less-common kinds of kidney stones can develop when you have an infection, chronic diarrhea, or certain rare hereditary disorders. 

Normally, your kidneys clean your blood and then flush the waste away in the form of urine. But if you have high levels of certain substances in your blood, the kidneys might not filter it all out. 

Eventually, the lingering minerals and salts make small crystals that can become kidney stones. Symptoms usually don't start until the kidney stones begin moving through your urinary tract. 

What are the symptoms of kidney stones?

If you have kidney stones, you may experience:

  • Lower back and flank area pain
  • Fluctuating pain levels
  • Sporadic bursts of pain
  • Frequent urination
  • Urinating smaller-than-usual amounts
  • Burning sensation during urination
  • Cloudy, pink, red, or dark urine
  • Nausea and vomiting

If your kidney stone blocks your ureter — the tube that carries urine to the bladder — you can develop an infection. Common signs of infection include chills and fever.

What does it mean to pass a kidney stone?

Ideally, kidney stones exit your kidney and move through the ureter into the bladder so you can pass the stone during urination. 

But depending on stone size, passing a kidney stone can be terribly painful or even impossible. A kidney stone could block your ureter and cause not only infection but also very serious complications like kidney failure if untreated.

Kidney stones are very small at first, but they can potentially grow too large to pass naturally, at which point you need medical intervention.  

How do you treat kidney stones?

Dr. Curtis uses the latest kidney stone innovations, including: 


With small kidney stones, Dr. Curtis may recommend increasing water intake along with alpha blocker medications that relax your ureter muscles. This may help you pass the kidney stone naturally.

Laser lithotripsy

In laser lithotripsy, Dr. Curtis fractures the kidney stones using laser energy. You’ll pass the smaller fragments during normal urination over a couple of days. 

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)

In ESWL, Dr. Curtis uses shock waves rather than focused laser energy to break up kidney stones so you can pass them.

Percutaneous nephrolithotripsy (PCNL)

In PCNL — the preferred option for larger stones — Dr. Curtis creates a small incision in your back or side. He inserts a special scope into your kidney, then uses surgical tools to break up the kidney stone and remove the pieces using suction.

Dr. Curtis recommends the most conservative and effective solutions whenever possible. 

If you need kidney stone help, call Advanced Urology of Sarasota, LLC or book an appointment online today.