Kidney Stone Sonography - Ultrasound Images, Cost & Report

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Sangeeta Sharma, last updated on 29 September 2023| min read
Kidney Stone Sonography - Ultrasound Images, Cost & Report

Quick Summary

  • Kidney stone sonography is a non-invasive procedure to detect types of kidney stones and other related issues
  • It is the most common procedure recommended to diagnose kidney stones
  • Doctors need kidney stone ultrasound images to identify the type and location of kidney stones

Are you experiencing symptoms like pain in the abdomen, sudden bouts of vomiting or painful urination? Chances are you might have kidney stones, and kidney stone sonography is the first step that you should go for in such cases. It is a non-invasive procedure to detect types of kidney stones and other related issues. 

Kidney stone ultrasound is the most common procedure recommended to diagnose kidney stones. In a normal scenario, approximately half a cup of blood is filtered by healthy kidneys every minute. This process removes wastes and surplus water to produce urine. But, in some people, minerals and proteins in the urine crystallise to form kidney stones. To treat such conditions, doctors need kidney stone ultrasound images to identify the type and location of kidney stones. Let us read more about it in the sections below.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are formed when minerals and salts crystallise and form hard deposits. The stones usually contain calcium oxalate deposits, uric acid, struvite and cystine. This happens when urine becomes concentrated. 

Those who don’t drink enough fluids are prone to getting kidney stones. Sometimes, certain medications can change urine composition, resulting in kidney stones. Also, improper diet, excess body weight and certain medical conditions may increase the risk of kidney stones.

Kidney stones may be formed in any part of the urinary tract, from the kidneys to the bladder. Pain in the abdomen, painful urination, sudden pain that subsides on its own after some time and sudden bouts of vomiting are classic symptoms of kidney stones. If you are suffering from kidney stones, you should contact your physician immediately if your urine becomes pink, brown, or red. 

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Reasons for Performing Kidney Stone Sonography

Kidney stone sonography, or renal ultrasound, is a medical imaging test that uses sound waves to create images of the kidneys and urinary tract. It is a non-invasive and safe procedure that does not involve radiation.

There are several reasons why a doctor may recommend an ultrasound scan for kidney stones:

  1. To diagnose kidney stones: Sonography can detect the presence of kidney stones, their size, location, and number. This information is important for determining the appropriate treatment plan.
  2. To monitor kidney stones: Sonography can be used to monitor the growth and movement of kidney stones over time. This is particularly important for patients who have a history of recurrent kidney stones.
  3. To evaluate kidney function: A kidney stone ultrasound can provide information on the size and shape of the kidneys and the flow of urine. This information can evaluate kidney function and diagnose conditions like hydronephrosis (kidney swelling due to urine buildup).
  4. To identify other conditions: Sonography can also identify other conditions affecting the kidneys or urinary tract.
    1. Tumours
    2. Cysts
    3. Abscesses
    4. Fluid collection
    5. Kidney obstruction
    6. Infection in and around the kidneys.

Preparation for Kidney Stone Sonography

You must follow the healthcare provider's instructions to prepare for the kidney stone ultrasound. The main key things to keep in mind (prerequisites) are:

  1. Drink plenty of water: It is important to drink plenty of water before the test to ensure that the bladder is full. A full bladder helps to improve the visibility of the kidneys and urinary tract during the test.
  2. Follow dietary instructions: Your doctor may give you specific dietary instructions before the test. This may include avoiding certain foods or drinks that can affect the appearance of the kidneys and urinary tract on the sonogram.
  3. Wear comfortable clothing: Wear loose and comfortable clothing that can be easily removed or adjusted for the test. You may be required to change into a hospital gown.
  4. Bring your medical records: Bring any relevant medical records, such as previous sonography reports, to the appointment.
  5. Inform your doctor of any medication: Inform your doctor of any medications you are taking, including over-the-counter medications, as some medications can interfere with the accuracy of the test.
  6. Arrive on time: Arrive on time for the appointment and plan to spend approximately 30 minutes to an hour at the imaging center.

To get the best imaging during a kidney stone ultrasound, go for the procedure as the first task in the morning after waking up.

Procedure for Kidney Stone Sonography

A licensed radiologist uses an ultrasound transducer for an ultrasound scan for kidney stones. As mentioned earlier, kidney stone sonography is a safe and harmless procedure. Even a pregnant woman can take this test safely, as the ultrasound waves don’t cause any harm to the baby. If you are a patient with pre-existing health conditions, you must discuss them with your physician to ensure there is no harm in taking the ultrasound scan test. 

The procedure is as follows:

  1. Step 1: An ultrasound gel is applied to the skin (This gel acts as a good conductive medium).
  2. Step 2: The ultrasound transducer is used on the skin to send ultrasound waves at specific frequencies to study the kidney. 
  3. Step 3: The ultrasound waves are bounced off by the organs to form an echo, which is read by the transducer. 
  4. Step 4: These reflected waves are processed and converted into computer images. 
  5. Step 5: The images are printed to generate a kidney stone ultrasound report pdf.

Interpreting Kidney Stone Sonography Reports

Interpreting kidney stone sonography reports requires the expertise of a trained healthcare provider, typically a radiologist or urologist. However, there are a few key terms and concepts that may be included in a typical kidney stone sonography report:

  1. Stone size: The report may include measurements of the size of any kidney stones detected. This information is important for determining the appropriate treatment plan. Larger stones (> 5-7mm) show hydronephrosis.
  2. Stone location: The report may indicate the location of any kidney stones detected, such as within the kidney, ureter, or bladder.
  3. Stone characteristics: The report may describe the appearance of the stones, such as their shape, texture, and density. Posterior shadowing indicates hyperechoic stones.
  4. Obstruction: The report may indicate if the presence of a stone obstructs the kidney or urinary tract. This information is important for determining the urgency and type of treatment needed.
  5. Kidney size and shape: The report may describe the size and shape of the kidneys, as well as any abnormalities or conditions affecting them.
  6. Urinary tract abnormalities: The report may indicate any abnormalities or conditions affecting the urinary tract, such as cysts, tumors, or obstructions.

Next Steps after Kidney Stone Sonography

After completing the ultrasound scan for kidney stones, the radiologist will develop sonography report that you have to discuss. The next steps after a kidney stone sonography depend on the test results and the reason for performing the test. Here are some possible scenarios:

  1. Kidney stones are detected: If kidney stones are seen on the sonography, the healthcare provider may recommend further tests, such as a CT scan or an X-ray, to determine the size and location of the stones more accurately.The healthcare provider will also determine the appropriate treatment plan based on the size, location, and number of stones. Treatment options may include medication to help pass the stone, lithotripsy (a procedure that uses shock waves to break up the stone), or ureteroscopy, or nephrolithotripsy to obliterate large stones.
  2. No kidney stones are detected: If no kidney stones are seen, the healthcare provider may investigate other possible causes of symptoms, such as urinary tract infections or other conditions affecting the urinary tract. Additional tests or treatments may be recommended based on the findings.
  3. Abnormalities are detected: Further tests or referrals to a specialist may be recommended if abnormalities are detected in the kidneys or urinary tract. The healthcare provider will determine the appropriate course of action based on the specific condition and severity of the abnormalities.

In general, it is important to discuss the results of the kidney stone sonography with a healthcare provider to determine the appropriate next steps. The healthcare provider can provide guidance on any necessary follow-up tests or treatments to ensure optimal health and well-being.

Benefits and Risks of Kidney Stone Sonography

As with any diagnostic test, kidney stone sonography has several benefits and also potential risks and limitations that should be considered. Some of these include

Benefits of Kidney Stone Sonography

  1. Non-invasive: Kidney stone sonography is a non-invasive imaging test that uses sound waves to create images of the kidneys and urinary tract. It does not involve radiation or require any incisions or needles.
  2. Safe: Kidney stone sonography is a safe procedure that does not expose the patient to any harmful radiation or other risks associated with invasive procedures. It is suitable even for pregnant women
  3. Accurate: Kidney stone sonography is an accurate diagnostic tool that can detect the presence, size, and location of kidney stones accurately.
  4. Quick and convenient: Kidney stone sonography is a quick and convenient test that can be performed in an outpatient setting. The test typically takes less than an hour to complete.

Risks of Kidney Stone Sonography

  1. Limited view: Kidney stone sonography may not provide a complete view of the urinary tract and may miss smaller stones or other abnormalities.
  2. Operator-dependent: The accuracy of kidney stone sonography can depend on the skill and experience of the sonographer performing the test.
  3. False positives or negatives: Like any medical test, kidney stone sonography can produce false positives or negatives, which can lead to unnecessary testing or delayed diagnosis.
  4. Discomfort: Patients may experience some discomfort or pressure during the test, especially if the bladder is full.

Cost of Kidney Stone Sonography

A kidney stone ultrasound costs vary from ₹500 to ₹2500. It depends on the city and the hospital where the ultrasound is performed. In Delhi, the cost starts from ₹1500. If additional tests such as urine and blood tests are taken with ultrasound, it can add to the total cost.

However, compared to a CT scan, a stone ultrasound is much cheaper. Depending on the health insurance coverage, you can ask the insurance company to cover the cost of a daycare ultrasound procedure. 


Worldwide, 1-13% of adults suffer from different stone diseases. The risk of stones in men is 11%, while in women, the risk is 9%. When you are experiencing pain in the lower back, nausea, fever, etc. or blood in urine/bad-smelling urine, the physician may recommend a stone ultrasound to detect kidney stones. 

HexaHealth provides financial relief for patients with kidney stones. You don’t have to worry about kidney stone ultrasounds and treatment costs. HexaHealth will connect you to top urologists, nephrologists and andrologists to easily detect, diagnose, and treat kidney stones.

Frequently Asked Questions

Kidney ultrasound sonography is an imaging test that explores the right and left kidneys along with the bladder. This non-invasive exam is used to assess the kidneys' shape, size, location and blood flow. 


The physician may recommend a kidney stone ultrasound to detect stones in the kidneys and ureters. It also detects tumours, cysts, fluid collection, obstructions and any other infection in the kidney and surrounding areas. 


After completing the kidney sonography, the technician will give the ultrasound images. You then need to consult your respective physicians about the diagnosis and details of the condition from the sonography. 


Kidney stone ultrasound is useful to assess kidney size, blood flow, presence of cysts, abscesses, tumours, kidney injury, etc. for fluid collection, or to detect any other abnormalities. 


You need access to the digital database of the image centre to download the report pdf. If the image centre has sent the report via email, the pdf can be downloaded to any device by simply clicking the download option.


The cost of renal ultrasound can range anywhere between ₹ 500 to ₹ 2500. If additional tests such as blood and urine tests are performed, it increases the cost. Also, the cost of stone ultrasound depends on the city and hospital. You have to pay additional consultation fees to the physician who will interpret the report for diagnosis. 


Fasting requirement before kidney stone ultrasound depends on the type of procedure the healthcare provider requests. In some cases, no fasting is required. However, in some cases, you are required to fast anywhere from 6 to 8 hours. Most of the time, you are asked to drink a lot of water before the test so that the bladder is enlarged for imaging. 


Yes, a kidney ultrasound can detect the presence of kidney stones. An ultrasound scan, often known as a USG, is a type of medical imaging procedure that creates images of the organs (like kidneys) inside the body using sound waves. A doctor can inspect the kidney and diagnose a number of illnesses and ailments, such as kidney stones, using ultrasound pictures.


A renal ultrasound is effective in showing kidney obstruction and stones in the kidney. However, it could miss a ureteral stone. 


No, a renal ultrasound is moderately accurate for kidney stone diagnosis. But it can miss small stones in the ureter or even in the kidneys. 


Focused ultrasonic energy, called shock waves, are sent directly to the stones during the lithotripsy treatment. These ultrasonic waves break down larger stones into smaller ones that can easily be passed through the urinary system. 


Yes, abdominal ultrasound can detect the presence of kidney stones as well as other serious health concerns. An abdominal ultrasound is a radiological procedure. Live images of the abdominal organs are provided via USG (ultrasonography) of the entire abdomen. Doctors can identify and treat illnesses using photos.


There are no key points to remember or follow during kidney stone sonography. The physician may ask you to fast for a few hours. Generally, you have to drink a lot of water before imaging to keep the bladder enlarged, which will improve visibility.


Kidney stone ultrasound captures black-and-white images of the internal structure of the kidneys and surrounding organs. A registered radiologist will apply a gel on the skin and use a probe against the skin. You may have to hold your breath many times or roll on the side to capture ultrasound images. 


Generally, an ultrasound scan for kidney stones takes anywhere from 20 to 30 minutes. 


No, ultrasound results may not be available immediately. However, many times, the results can be collected about 24 hours after the sonography. You must discuss the test results with your healthcare provider. 


Depending on the imaging centre chosen, the kidney stone ultrasound may be available anywhere between 24 hours (1 day) and 1-2 weeks. However, you must always discuss the results with the healthcare provider only. 


The urine calcium excretion level is a clear indication of the presence of kidney stones. If it is above 200 mg/day, it indicates calcium risk. However, only the physician can read the sonography images. 


The healthcare provider will discuss kidney stone ultrasound test results with you. Depending on the findings and diagnosis, they may suggest treatment options. 


If the kidney stone ultrasound report is abnormal, the physician may recommend additional tests such as blood tests, urine tests, CT imaging, abdominal X-rays, etc. If stones are detected, further treatment options may be suggested. 


Kidney stone ultrasound scan is safe, painless and non-invasive. The gel used on the skin before the ultrasound is also safe. So, there are no known risks.


Yes, often pregnant women go through ultrasound tests to check the foetus. So, getting kidney stone ultrasound tests is completely safe for pregnant women. 


Kidney stone ultrasound is usually a safe and harmless procedure. However, if you are a patient with any of the pre-existing health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart ailments, or chronic diseases, you should consult your healthcare provider before getting an ultrasound. 


Many studies have shown that kidney stone sonography is better than a CT scan for detecting kidney stones. As a CT scan exposes you to radiation, ultrasound is the first recommended test.


Updated on : 29 September 2023

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Sangeeta Sharma

Sangeeta Sharma

BSc. Biochemistry I MSc. Biochemistry (Oxford College Bangalore)

6 Years Experience

She has extensive experience in content and regulatory writing with reputed organisations like Sun Pharmaceuticals and Innodata. Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical conten...View More

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