The correct management of patients with kidney stones is a crucial issue for nephrologists. In recent years, the incidence and prevalence rates of nephrolithiasis have maintained a growing trend worldwide, showing a strong correlation with other systemic disease such as diabetes mellitus, hypertension, obesity, metabolic syndrome and chronic kidney disease. International guidelines indicate computed tomography as the first choice for all adult patients with suspected acute symptoms for obstructive nephrolithiasis. Intravenous pyelogram is more useful in the follow-up of patients with relapsing nephrolithiasis and known stone composition, while the high costs and the long image acquisition times limit the routine use of magnetic resonance. Recent innovative tools have improved the accuracy of kidney stone localization and measuring with B-Mode and color Doppler imaging, thereby reducing the gap between ultrasonography and computer tomography. The aim of this review is to report the latest evidence on risk factors and on the pathophysiology of nephrolithiasis, and to compare the utility of the available imaging techniques in the management of patients with kidney stones, focusing on the role of ultrasonography and the present and future strategies to improve its accuracy.
Keywords: nephrolithiasis, diagnostic imaging, ultrasonography, B-Mode imaging, color Doppler imaging, twinkling artifact