SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCOTT CAMAZINE / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Kidney stone. Coloured urogram showing a large staghorn kidney stone in a kidney. The stone is visible as a branched blue object in the kidney at upper right. The ureter leads from the kidney to the bladder (lower centre, blue). Staghorn stones form when salts in the urine precipitate and harden. The stones block the ureter between the kidney and the bladder, and cause severe abdominal pain. They can be removed by surgery, but more frequently, non-invasive measures are used. These include extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy, where shock waves are focused on the stone from outside the body. This disintegrates the stone, allowing the fragments to be excreted.
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