General Urologic Conditions
Kidney stones are one of the most common conditions that urologists encounter and treat. Stones form in the kidney when substances that normally dissolve in the urine form into crystals. Over time, these crystals slowly become larger and form kidney stones. An estimated 45 million Americans suffer from kidney stones. They often present with severe back and flank pain, and are a common reason for visits to the Emergency Room. Pain occurs when kidney stones become dislodged from the kidney and start to travel down to the bladder. Our staff at Central Texas Urology specializes in treating kidney stones and will work to prevent future episodes through a complete metabolic evaluation.
Kidney tumors, or growths in the kidney, can be malignant (cancerous) or benign (non-cancerous). Malignant tumors are known as renal cell carcinomas and have the potential to spread to other organs. Benign tumors do not usually spread to other parts of the body, but may cause problems such as bleeding or compression of surrounding organs. Kidney cancer is most often discovered today when patients undergo CT scans or ultrasounds for other unrelated conditions. Urologists specialize in the treatment and removal of these harmful tumors. Most kidney surgery can be done in a minimally invasive way, thanks to advanced technology available to the surgeon such as laparoscopic equipment or the Da Vinci surgical robot.
Kidney cysts are fluid collections within the kidney. They are very common and become even more common with increasing age. Most kidney cysts are simple in nature and appearance. These are not worrisome and do not require any further follow up. However, a small percentage of kidney cysts are referred to as complex and may harbor the potential for cancer at a later point. They may require close surveillance for years with a urologist, or may require surgical intervention to prevent a more serious problem at a later point.
Kidney infections, or pyelonephritis, differ from simple bladder or urinary tract infections in their severity. They are often associated with fever of 101 F or higher, back or flank pain and nausea or vomiting. These usually are treated with prolonged antibiotics and may require hospitalization. Kidney infections are a common reason for visits to the urology office. Workups commonly entail imaging and/or office cystoscopy identify any abnormalities in the urinary tract that may have caused the infection. If such an abnormality is detected, surgical intervention may be required to prevent future episodes.
Bladder cancer is a cancer that involves the cells on the inside of the bladder, where urine is stored. It most often presents with painless blood in the urine, but warning signs such as small trace amounts of blood in the urine may be discovered during routine lab work by your family physician. Bladder cancer is very commonly and strongly associated with cigarette smoking, but may develop in non-smokers as well. The workup for bladder cancer always involves some type of radiographic imaging to evaluate the kidneys as well as direct visualization of the inside of the bladder using a small camera. Treatments for bladder cancer range from simple outpatient procedures performed using cameras placed into the bladder to long extensive surgeries such as complete removal of the bladder.
Blood in the Urine
Blood in the urine, or hematuria, is a common reason for a visit to the urologist office. Seeing any blood in the urine, ranging from bright red to older, dark brown blood should be a reason to call your regular physician or our office for a consultation. While blood in the urine is usually associated with a benign cause such as infection or a kidney stone, it may be the first warning sign of something much more serious, such as cancer. A thorough workup is usually indicated, and may involve radiographic studies or cystoscopy
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Central Texas Urology is proud to offer courteous, friendly, state-of-the-art, efficient care. We feel it is important for you and your family to understand as much as possible about your healthcare. We are dedicated to providing you with the best and latest information and procedures available.