amino acid   Nitrogen-containing parts of proteins used to build muscle and other body tissues.

bladder   The organ in the pelvis that stores urine produced by the kidneys until urination occurs.

BUN   Blood Urea Nitrogen, a blood test that helps determine kidney function. Urea is a waste product of protein breakdown in the body.

calculi   A stone, or concretion, formed inside the body. Renal calculi is the medical term for kidney stones.

creatinine   An amino acid secreted by the kidney. A blood test, urine test, or both for creatinine helps to determine kidney function.

CT scan   Computed Tomography, an x-ray enhanced by a computer to produce a two dimensional cross section image of the body's internal organs.

cystoscope   A fiberoptic instrument used to view the lining of the urethra and bladder. Urologists can pass instruments through the scope to carry out procedures inside the urethra and bladder.

diuretic   A type of drug that increases urine output and reduces fluid accumulation in the body.

EKG   An acronym for "electrocardiogram." A graphic tracing of heartbeats used to help diagnose heart problems.

electrohydrolic   An electric spark in water to create a shockwave that can fracture a stone.

electrolyte   A solution of ions that is capable of conducting electricity. Measuring the levels of electrolytes such a sodium, chloride, potassium, and bicarbonate in the body can indicate whether the kidneys, heart, and other organs are functioning normally.

endourologic   A procedure that uses lighted scopes to see inside urinary organs, such as the bladder, ureters, and kidneys.

ESWL   Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy. A procedure using concentrated shock waves, which are similar to sound waves, to break up kidney stones inside the body.

extracorporeal   A term meaning outside the body.

hyperparathyroidism   A condition marked by over production of the hormone parathormone by the parathyroid glands. These glands are located next to the thyroid gland in the neck. High levels of parathormone result in high blood levels of calcium that the kidneys must excrete. This condition can contribute to the formatio

kidney   The organ that filters water and waste products from the blood and creates urine. Most people have two kidneys.

laser   In physics, a device that produces a nearly parallel, nearly monochromatic, and coherent beam of light by exciting atoms to a higher energy level and causing them to radiate their energy in phase.

lithotripsy   See ESWL. The breaking up of kidney stones with an acoustic pulse (i.e., sound waves).

mechanical energy   Technique that crushes kidney stones.

metabolic evaluation   A series of tests and assessments used to determine if a patient has any metabolic diseases or disorders that can cause kidney stones. Examples of metabolic diseases are hypercalcemia, hyperparathyroidism, and hyperoxaluria.

metabolism   All the chemical processes that create living matter from food and also produce waste products from the breakdown of food and living matter.

nephrolithotomy   A term meaning to remove a stone from the kidney; generally refers to open surgical removal.

nephrostolithotomy   Percutaneous stone removal. A procedure used to remove kidney stones by making a small incision through the back and passing a scope into the kidney to visualize the stone. Then it can be broken up and removed. This therapy is appropriate for many larger stones in the kidney and upper ureter because

nephrostomy   The insertion of a tube through the skin into the kidney, mainly to provide urine drainage where the ureter is not functional or to remove or dissolve kidney stones.

noninvasive   Any procedure that does not cut or puncture the body.

oxalate   A salt of oxalic acid found in kidney stones of patients suffering from hyperoxaluria, a genetic disease that causes deposits of calcium oxalates in the urinary organs.

percutaneous   A term meaning through the skin.

pH   In chemistry, the symbol for the logarithm of the reciprocal of hydrogen ion concentration in gram atoms per liter, used to express the acidity or alkalinity of a solution on a scale of 0 to 14, where less than 7 represents acidity, 7 neutrality, and more than 7 alkalinity.

phosphate   A salt of phosphorus found in such foods as meat, poultry, fish, dairy products, legumes, nuts, and soft drinks. Reduction of phosphate intake may be necessary to help reduce kidney stone formation.

renal   A term meaning having to do with the kidney.

stent   A hollow plastic tube into the urinary tract prior to lithotripsy. This tube is called a J-J stent. One end of the stent coils up in the kidney, and the other coils up in the urinary bladder.

stone basket   A procedure where a scope is passed through the urethra and up into the ureter or kidney. The stone is then visualized and removed with a cage-like device called a basket.

ultrasound   A test that uses high frequency sound waves to visualize organs.

ureter   The tube that leads from a kidney to the bladder. Each kidney has at least one ureter.

ureteral   Term meaning having to do with the ureter.

ureteroscopy   A procedure using a ureterscope. A ureterscope is passed through the urethra and up into the ureter or kidney. It is sometimes used to visualize and remove stones with a cage-like device called a basket (see Stone basket) or the stones can be broken up with lasers into multiple small pieces that can

ureterscope   The lighted scope used to see inside the ureter.