DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DENNIS KUNKEL MICROSCOPY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Kidney stone, coloured scanning electron micrograph (SEM). Kidney stones are primarily formed by crystallization of the mineral salt calcium oxalate from the urine. They are irregular shaped stones called calculi (calculus) and are composed of random oriented columnar monoclinic crystals of calcium oxalate monohydrate with peripheral deposits of fine octahedral crystals of calcium oxalate dehydrate. Patches of microcrystalline hydroxyl apatite fill internodal regions. Protein matrices can also be associated with the microcrystalline arrays. The hard stones can cause severe pain as they pass down the ureter (urinary tract). Kidney stones may need to be removed surgically using ultrasound. Magnification: x16 when shortest axis printed at 25 millimetres.
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