Upper urinary tract stones are a common problem in Australia, with an incidence of 0.13% per year, and a lifetime prevalence of up to 15% in males and 8% in females. Many of these patients first present to general practitioners (GPs), so a thorough understanding of the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of stone disease is an important part of any GP’s arsenal.
In this article, we present evidence-based guidelines regarding urolithiasis, from diagnosis, through to conservative and operative management, and prevention, as a reference for GPs and other primary care physicians.
The majority of urolithiasis cases can be conservatively managed. However, prior to conservative management, adequate imaging must be obtained and emergent conditions must be excluded. Conservative management should not be initiated without a plan in the event the management fails, and adequate analgesia and medical expulsive therapy should be prescribed. Should surgery be necessary, the majority of operations can be performed as minimally invasive day procedures.