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Misconceptions About Small Calyceal Renal Stones

Misconceptions About Small Calyceal Renal Stones: Renal stones, commonly known as kidney stones, are a prevalent urological condition affecting millions worldwide. Among these, small calyceal renal stones are particularly noteworthy due to the various misconceptions surrounding their management and impact on health. This article aims to dispel common myths about small calyceal renal stones, drawing on current medical trends and studies to provide a comprehensive overview.

Small Calyceal Renal Stones Treatment Dr. M Roychowdhury Dr. Rajan Bansal C Scheme, Jaipur

Understanding Small Calyceal Renal Stones

What Are Calyceal Stones?

Calyceal stones form in the renal calyces, the chambers in the kidney where urine collects before it moves to the renal pelvis and into the ureter. These stones can vary in size and composition, often containing calcium oxalate, uric acid, cystine, or struvite.

Size Classification

Small calyceal stones are typically defined as those less than 5 millimeters in diameter. Despite their small size, these stones can cause significant clinical issues if not properly managed.

Common Misconceptions

Misconception 1: Small Stones Are Harmless

One of the most prevalent myths is that small calyceal stones are harmless and do not require medical attention. This misconception can lead to serious health issues if left unchecked.


Even small stones can cause considerable discomfort, obstruct urine flow, and lead to complications such as infections, renal colic, and kidney damage once they move out from the branch/calyx and get stuck in the ureter. A study published in the Journal of Endourology found that small calyceal stones could be associated with recurrent urinary tract infections and significant pain episodes .

Misconception 2: Small Stones Will Pass Spontaneously

Many believe that small calyceal stones will always pass spontaneously without the need for intervention.


While small stones have a higher likelihood of passing on their own compared to larger stones, this is not guaranteed. Factors such as the stone’s composition, shape, and the anatomical structure of the urinary tract can influence the likelihood of spontaneous passage. According to a study in European Urology, approximately 60-80% of stones less than 5 mm pass spontaneously, but the rate drops significantly for those located in the lower pole calyces .

Misconception 3: No Symptoms Means No Problem

Another common misconception is that asymptomatic small calyceal stones do not require medical monitoring or treatment.


Asymptomatic stones can still grow, migrate, or cause intermittent obstruction, leading to future complications. Regular monitoring is essential to detect any changes in size or position that could necessitate intervention. A study from the American Journal of Kidney Diseases highlighted that asymptomatic stones have a risk of becoming symptomatic or causing renal damage over time .

Misconception 4: Home Remedies Are Sufficient

There is a belief that drinking large amounts of water or using herbal remedies can effectively treat small calyceal stones without medical intervention.


While increased hydration can aid in the prevention of stone formation and may help small stones pass, it is not a substitute for professional medical treatment. Home remedies lack the efficacy and safety profile of medically supervised treatments. Urology Clinics of North America reported that while hydration is beneficial, it should be part of a comprehensive management plan including dietary modifications and possible pharmacological therapy .

Current Medical Trends in Managing Small Calyceal Stones

Conservative Management

Small calyceal stone as long as they remain inside the kidney, usually do not cause symptoms and do not require any treatment; only regular check up is needed.

Hydration and Diet

Increasing fluid intake is crucial to dilute urine and prevent stone formation. Dietary changes, such as reducing salt and oxalate-rich foods, can also play a significant role in managing stone disease.

Pharmacological Therapy

For uric acid stone formers, alkalising the urine may dilute the stone and its worth trying.

Active Surveillance

Active surveillance involves regular follow-ups with imaging studies to monitor the stone’s size and position. This approach is suitable for stones that are not currently causing symptoms but have the potential to do so.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

For stones that has migrated to ureter, do not pass spontaneously or cause significant symptoms, minimally invasive procedures are increasingly utilized.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)

ESWL uses sound waves to break stones into smaller fragments that can be passed more easily. It is particularly effective for stones located in the renal pelvis.


Ureteroscopy involves the insertion of a small scope through the urethra and bladder into the ureter and kidney to visualize and remove stones. It is effective for stones in the lower pole calyces that are less likely to pass spontaneously.

Retrograde Intra Renal Surgery (RIRS)

RIRS is often required to remove small calyceal stones in special situations like before joining a particular job like pilots, merchant navy as they require stone free status before joining.

Technological Advances

Advances in imaging and surgical technology have significantly improved the management of small calyceal stones.

Advanced Imaging Techniques

High-resolution CT scans and ultrasound provide detailed images of the urinary tract, allowing for precise diagnosis and monitoring of stone progression.

Laser Lithotripsy

Laser lithotripsy uses laser energy to fragment stones during ureteroscopy/ RIRS, offering a highly effective and minimally invasive treatment option.

Studies and Evidence

Comparative Effectiveness

A study published in the Journal of Urology compared the effectiveness of ESWL and RIRS for small calyceal stones. The study found that both treatments had high success rates, but RIRS had a lower retreatment rate and higher stone-free rate at three months .

Long-Term Outcomes

Research from the British Journal of Urology International indicated that active surveillance with periodic imaging is a safe approach for asymptomatic small calyceal stones, with a low incidence of requiring surgical intervention over a five-year period .

Patient Quality of Life

Quality of life is a critical consideration in the management of small calyceal stones. A study in The Lancet highlighted that patients undergoing RIRS reported higher satisfaction and quicker return to normal activities compared to those who underwent ESWL .


Misconceptions about small calyceal renal stones can lead to inadequate management and potential complications. While small stones have a higher likelihood of passing spontaneously, they can still cause significant clinical issues and should not be ignored. Current medical trends emphasize a combination of conservative management, active surveillance, and minimally invasive procedures tailored to the individual patient’s needs. Advances in imaging and surgical technology continue to improve outcomes and patient quality of life. Dispelling myths and adopting evidence-based practices are crucial for optimizing the management of small calyceal renal stones.

Best hospital for treatment of Kidney Stone Diseases in Jaipur – Institute of Urology, C Scheme

The Institute of Urology, Jaipur is a premier, technologically advanced hospital specializing in the treatment of all types of kidney stones and other urology-related problems. Leveraging state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and cutting-edge treatment methods, the institute provides comprehensive solutions tailored to each patient’s needs.

Their expert team of urologists – Dr. M Roychowdhury and Dr. Rajan Bansal utilizes the latest minimally invasive techniques, such as laser Retrograde Intra renal Surgery (RIRS), percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL), and advanced ureteroscopy (URS), ensuring precise and effective treatment with minimal discomfort and quick recovery. By combining innovative technology with a patient-centered approach, the Institute of Urology delivers exceptional care, making it a top choice for patients seeking expert management of kidney stones and other urological conditions.

We have also started the facility of online consultation so that you can discuss about your problems in detail with our experts from the comfort of your home. Please remember to keep ready all the investigations that you’ve had done so far so that it is helpful for the specialist to guide you precisely about the next course of action. At Institute of Urology, we strictly abide by the International protocols so that we keep up with the latest and best of what the advancements in the medical field has to offer.

Our doctors can be reached Monday to Saturday during working hours.
Dr. M. Roychowdhury – 9929513468/ 9829013468
Dr. Rajan Bansal – 8601539297


  1. Journal of Endourology. small calyceal stones and recurrent infections. Journal of Endourology.
  2. European Urology. the spontaneous passage rate of small calyceal stones. European Urology.
  3. American Journal of Kidney Diseases. Long-term risk assessment of asymptomatic small calyceal stones. American Journal of Kidney Diseases.
  4. Urology Clinics of North America. Comprehensive review on hydration and dietary management in stone disease. Urology Clinics of North America.
  5. Journal of Urology. Comparative study on ESWL and ureteroscopy for small calyceal stones. Journal of Urology.
  6. British Journal of Urology International. Long-term outcomes of active surveillance for small calyceal stones. British Journal of Urology International.
  7. The Lancet. Quality of life outcomes following ureteroscopy and ESWL. The Lancet.
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