How Much Does it Cost to Treat Kidney Stones without Insurance
The treatment for kidney stones can vary drastically between patients. Some kidney stones can be treated with hydration and pain management if uncomplicated and small. If you find that you need surgery for kidney stone removal, your treatment can cost anywhere from $3,304-$12,525 without insurance.
The Cost of Kidney Stone Treatment at Different Clinics & Locations
The following are basic types of surgical interventions for kidney stone treatment and their corresponding price ranges. These surgical interventions are recommended based on the size of your kidney stone, prior treatments, and patient characteristics.
Cost of Kidney Stone Treatment Based on Service
|Type of Surgery||Treatment Cost Without Insurance|
|Shock wave Lithotripsy||$7,000|
*This data is collected based on price ranges in New York City
Cost of Uncomplicated, At-Home Kidney Stone Treatment
Patients with small kidney stones and mild symptoms do not need extensive surgical treatment. These patients' costs will tend to be much lower as they can resolve their kidney stones at home. Most physicians recommend a combination of hydration, pain relievers, and specific medications to pass small kidney stones. A small stone may take up to 2-4 weeks to pass.
- Hydration: Drinking 12 glasses of water daily can help you pass a kidney stone. Staying hydrated is also important for kidney stone prevention. Consuming lemon juice or apple cider vinegar can also help speed up the process. The citric acids in both liquids can help break down kidney stones.
- Pain medication: OTC pain medications can help to manage discomfort and pain when passing small kidney stones. Your physician might recommend acetaminophen or ibuprofen to help manage your pain.
- Kidney medication: Your physician may prescribe you certain medications to help your kidney stones pass. Medications such as calcium channel blockers, diuretics, uric acid reducers, or alpha-blockers will help your ureter relax or help to decrease the size of the kidney stone.
The following costs of these medications are listed below:
|Medication||Dosage + Quantity||Cost|
|Tamsulosin (alpha-blocker)||0.4 mg, 30 capsules||$26.69|
|Potassium Citrate (urinary alkalizer)||473 mL||$17.69|
|Allopurinol (uric acid inducer)||300 mg, 30 tablets||$11.28|
|Hydrochlorothiazine (thiazide diuretic)||25 mg, 30 tablets||$6.64|
Types of Kidney Stone Surgeries
There are several ways to treat/remove kidney stones based on placement, size, and severity. As mentioned above, the type of surgery you receive will significantly impact the cost of your treatment. The following are your standard options for treating/removing a kidney stone.
- Ureteroscopy: A ureteroscopy is a procedure in which kidney stones and crushed or removed via an endoscope. An endoscope (a tiny telescope) is inserted into the bladder and ureter to locate the stone or insert a stent if the ureter is too thin. Additionally, this procedure is generally performed outpatient and takes around an hour. You will receive general anesthesia, and you can go home once the procedure is finished. Ureteroscopy is usually recommended for individuals who are obese, pregnant or have a clotting disorder.
- Shock wave Lithotripsy: Shock wave lithotripsy is another procedure used for treating kidney stones. This procedure does not require any surgical intervention. Instead, x-rays or ultrasounds are used to locate the stones in the boy, and then shock waves pass through the body to crush the stones.
- This procedure takes around 45-60 mins and may warrant some anesthesia to reduce discomfort. Lithotripsy can be done on an outpatient basis, but typically, most patients will be hospitalized briefly. Although the patient is free to move after the treatment, the fragments of the stones may cause discomfort post-procedure, and you might need pain medications.
- Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy: This procedure is recommended for patients with large or irregularly shaped kidney stones. Often, this treatment is a second resort for patients who cannot undergo ureteroscopy or if shock wave lithotripsy fails. This procedure requires surgical intervention in which a small incision is made in the back of the kidney. The surgeon then inserts a small scope through the incision to surgically remove the tube. This procedure is inpatient only and will need brief hospitalization.
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Cost of Kidney Stone Treatment in Different Clinics Across the U.S.
As previously mentioned, the cost of kidney stone treatment can vary drastically based on the type of surgery warranted. The following are costs collected from various clinics across the U.S. that range from low to high based on the type of procedure performed.
|Location||Clinic||Treatment Cost Without Insurance|
|Paramus, NJ||A Center for Advanced Surgery||$3,700-$11,500|
|Greenville, TX||Hunt Regional Healthcare||$6,617|
|Minneapolis, MN||Abbott Northwestern Hospital||$4,000-$12,500|
|Santa Monica, CA||20th Street Surgery Center||$4,400-$13,800|
|Brooklyn, NY||2116 Kings Highway GI||$3,100-$9,500|
|Oak Ridge, TN||Advanced Family Surgery Center||$2,850-$8,900|
Besides the cost of your kidney stone procedure, it is important to consider possible additional costs. Some costs to be wary of include any cost of diagnostic testing and imaging, consultation fees, anesthesiologist fees, and post-operation prescription costs.
|Services||Diagnostic Testing Cost without insurance|
|Medical imaging (CT scan and ultrasound)|
CT scan: $3,000
Cost of additional kidney stone services without insurance
|Additional Services||Cost of Additional Services without insurance|
Kidney Stone Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
The following section will answer some frequently asked questions about kidney stones.
How long will it take to recover from these procedures?
After a ureteroscopy, most patients will need to rest for about 24 hours.
For shock wave lithotripsy, most patients will require 1-2 days of hospitalization and be able to resume regular activity within 1-2 days.
After either procedure, you can expect to pass stone fragments for the next few weeks. To expedite this process, make sure to stay as hydrated as possible.
Percutaneous nephrolithotomy will require at least 1-2 days of hospitalization and will need to rest for 2-4 weeks post-surgery.
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What symptoms may I experience post-op?
Most individuals may experience pain and nausea as stone fragments pass after ureteroscopy or shock wave lithotripsy procedures. Additionally, abdominal pain, aching, or even blood in urine might occur for the following days. These symptoms may last from 4-7 weeks. It is important to contact your physician if you feel a strong urge to urinate or have severe pain after your procedure as it could be a sign of a complication.
What are the signs and symptoms of a kidney stone?
If small and uncomplicated, some kidney stones might not cause severe or noticeable symptoms until they pass through your urine. However, if you have a large kidney stone that requires surgical intervention, you may experience more severe symptoms including but not limited to the following:
- Severe, sharp pain on your side
- Pain around your lower abdomen
- Burning pain when urinating
- Blood in your urine
- Foul-smelling urine
- Constant need to urinate or urinating in small amounts
- Nausea and vomiting
- Cloudy or brown urine
How do you prevent kidney stones from forming?
The best way to prevent kidney stones is to always maintain a healthy level of hydration. This means drinking up to 3 liters or approximately 8 glasses of water daily. Foods or drinks with citric acid, including lemon juice, fruit juice, or apple cider vinegar, can help prevent stones from forming. It is also essential to monitor your urine color. If you find that your urine is darker than usual, that could be a sign of dehydration or an even more severe condition.
Ultimately, treatments for kidney stones can vary based on the severity of your condition, the size of the kidney stone, and what procedure your physician/clinical team choose for you. If you need surgical intervention, you can expect costs ranging from $3,304 to $12,525 based on your geographic location and procedure.
Mira is an excellent resource to help you save money on kidney stone treatment costs. Significantly, for uninsured or underinsured individuals, Mira can help you save on not only prescriptions but also diagnostic testing, and physician consults. For an average of $45 a month, Mira provides affordable health coverage for everyone. Sign up for Mira today!
Sophie is a 2024 Pharm D. candidate studying pharmacy at Rutgers University, New Brunswick. She has a passion for healthcare and writing and hopes to make meaningful contributions to healthcare transparency and accessibility. In her free time, she likes to take care of her houseplants, cook, and hang out with her cat.