If you’ve ever had a kidney stone, you know the pain can be sudden, intense, and incapacitating. While there’s no guaranteed way to prevent kidney stones, staying well hydrated can help minimize their likelihood. Though dehydration can be a problem throughout the year, summer is a particular challenge. As temperatures and humidity climb and you become more active outdoors, it’s important to increase the amount of water you drink. While kidney stones are fairly common, and a history of a single stone can have little impact on your next medical, a second or subsequent stone requires a special issuance medical certificate.
Here are the details: The FAA allows for recertification following the diagnosis and successful treatment of kidney stones. If you are reporting them on your medical application for the first time, you will need to provide the aviation medical examiner the following two reports from your treating physician (usually a urologist):
However, a retained stone or a history of recurring stones is disqualifying and the AME should defer the application to the FAA for a decision. Recertification with a retained stone may be possible if there is reasonable evidence that the stone is not likely to move. Depending upon the size and chemical makeup of the stone, any movement can result in rapid and potentially incapacitating pain. Your urologist should provide a written opinion as to the likelihood for incapacitation.
After initial certification by FAA staff doctors, subsequent renewals qualify for AME Assisted Special Issuance (AASI). This allows the medical examiner to issue an airman medical certificate after the FAA has conducted the initial review of the medical records. The AASI form is online here.