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Calculi (shown in cross-section) come in a variety of shapes and sizes - making removal complicated and unpredictable. Frontispiece, Kelly and Burnam's Diseases of the Kidney, Ureter & Bladder, 1914. Courtesy of The Johns Hopkins University

While research continues, urologists have ever-evolving techniques to make calculi successfully treatable. Even more comforting is the fact that today's options are light years from those early lithotomists and their "cutting for the stone."

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