Q. What is the difference between nephrolithiasis and soft tissue calcification?

Answered by
Dr. Krishna Somani
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Sep 22, 2016 and last reviewed on: Aug 27, 2020

Hi doctor,

The findings of my 12 year old daughter's x-ray showed a cluster of 3 mm density overlying the right kidney, which may represent soft tissue calcification versus nephrolithiasis. I would like to get a clear understanding of the difference between soft tissue calcification and nephrolithiasis. Thank you



Welcome to icliniq.com.

  • Nephrolithiasis means kidney stones and soft tissue calcification means any part of renal parenchyma gets high deposits of calcium and show up in x-ray.
  • I want to know the reason for x-ray done.
  • Is she having pain in the flank or burning sensation in urine or fever or vomiting or any other urinary complaints? If yes, then we should straight away do an ultrasound to confirm these findings.

For further information consult a nephrologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/nephrologist

Thank you doctor,

She was having trouble with constipation and thus the x-ray was taken. We are seeing a nephrology specialist next week. She has not had blood in urine or burning sensation or fever. To confirm, are you saying that these two are separate things?



Welcome back to icliniq.com.

  • Yes, soft tissue calcification can be due to many causes like nephrocalcinosis (calcium deposit in kidney) or some calcified papillae or some medications or in very initial stages of stone formation.
  • X-ray is a very preliminary study to differentiate all this. It can only confirm a well formed stone of size more than around 5 mm to 10 mm and above.
  • It will be a good idea to visit a nephrologist for full evaluation. A plain CT KUB (scan of kidneys, ureters and bladders) will settle all queries.
  • But, considering her age, we also have to think about radiation exposure. Hence, I recommend a simple USG KUB.

Revert back with the report to a nephrologist online --> https://www.icliniq.com/ask-a-doctor-online/nephrologist

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