If your doctor suspects you have bladder stones, they may test your urine and arrange some scans. These tests include:
Urinalysis (analysis of the urine). Blood, nitrites, or white cells in the urine may suggest the presence of bladder stones. A low urinary pH and a urinary tract infection (UTI) may be detected too.
Imaging. For example, ultrasounds or CT scans can detect bladder stones.
Cystoscopy. Bladder stones are sometimes picked up incidentally by a cystoscopy. However, it is not used as a primary diagnostic tool.
How are bladder stones treated?
Traditionally, bladder stones are treated via surgical methods.
Treatment options include:
Transurethral cystolitholapaxy. This is the most common surgical procedure to remove bladder stones. A cystoscope will be inserted via the urethra into the bladder. Your doctor will be able to see the bladder stones and shatter them using lasers or ultrasonic devices. These bladder stone fragments can then be washed out.
Percutaneous suprapubic cystolitholapaxy. This is a minimally invasive surgery (MIS) that is used for large bladder stones in adults and children with a smaller urethra. Your doctor will make a small cut of less than 1cm at the lower abdomen to take out the bladder stones from your bladder.
Open cystostomy. This surgical procedure is rarely used. It removes very large bladder stones or in patients with a very large prostate. The process is similar to percutaneous suprapubic cystolitholapaxy, but an open cystostomy requires a bigger cut, resulting in longer recovery time and an extended hospital stay.