Medical

Kidney stones blasted by new non-surgical sound wave device

Kidney stones blasted by new n...
The ultimate goal of the research is to develop a small device that can be used in doctor's offices and emergency rooms to easily treat kidney stones without surgery
The ultimate goal of the research is to develop a small device that can be used in doctor's offices and emergency rooms to easily treat kidney stones without surgery
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The ultimate goal of the research is to develop a small device that can be used in doctor's offices and emergency rooms to easily treat kidney stones without surgery
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The ultimate goal of the research is to develop a small device that can be used in doctor's offices and emergency rooms to easily treat kidney stones without surgery

An article published in the Journal of Urology is reporting on the first 19 humans treated with a new non-invasive method designed to break up kidney stones using sound waves. The method, dubbed burst wave lithotripsy (BWL), successfully fragmented the majority of kidney stones, promising a non-surgical way to treat patients with this common condition.

Up to 15 percent of people will experience kidney stones at some point in their life. Many cases of small stones are known to pass spontaneously and without any intervention, however, some patients require surgical intervention to avoid permanent kidney damage.

For several decades surgeons have used sound waves to break up kidney stones in a method called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). The method involves high intensity acoustic pulses and generally requires patients to be sedated or even anesthetized.

This new method differs from ESWL in that it can be administered in more informal settings using a handheld device, and with no sedation. Burst wave lithotripsy uses short cyclic pulses of ultrasound energy to break kidney stones down into fragments equal to, or smaller than, 2 mm.

The new study is a the largest published report on the efficacy of the novel method in human patients. Nineteen patients undergoing clinical ureteroscopy for kidney stones were recruited.

BWL was administered during the surgical procedure, targeting up to three large stones (≤12 mm) in each patient for around 10 minutes per stone. Overall the study reported 90 percent of the total stone volume was broken up, with 39 percent of the targeted stones completely fragmented into pieces smaller than 2 mm and partial fragmentation seen in 52 percent of the stones.

The researchers say the majority of stone fragments left after BWL treatment should naturally pass with no further medical intervention. The BWL treatment was also found to cause only mild and manageable peripheral tissue injury.

BWL still needs more research before it is widely deployed in clinics. Optimal treatment methods need to be investigated and the ultimate goal is to develop a treatment that can be quickly administered in office environments when patients first present with kidney stones.

"The ability to noninvasively break stones and expel the fragments in awake patients at first presentation in the ED or clinic has the potential to provide just-in-time treatment leading to a reduction of the overall pain, cost and resource burden associated with a stone event," the researchers concluded in the study.

The new study was published in the Journal of Urology.

Source: Wolters Kluwer Health

11 comments
11 comments
CAVUMark
My wife fixed mine with reflexology.
sidmehta
Excellent, hope this becomes real.
pmshah
Ultrasonic may blast the stones into finer grain but these still have to pass through the urethra which will still be extremely painful. Even passing one that is as fine as a grain of sand is bad.
Karmudjun
Kidney stones are no joke - but remember, the painful kidney stones that pass are usually above 3 mm in size - the most common are 3-5 mm. Above 5 mm and the pain - or blockage of the kidney pelvis - is a serious issue. This Burst Wave Lithotripsy could be considered a success for a blocked ureter if it resonates the stones into particles no bigger than 5 mm. We certainly need more study even if 90% 'of stone volume(s)' were broken up, with 39% to that 2mm or smaller size - but the remaining 61% (which includes the 52% that showed partial fragmentation) were what size? Studies show that 3-5 mm fragments are going to require some pain management while they pass. Anecdotally I've seen larger stones passed but I've also treated those patients for their pain management! Again - kidney stones are no joke!
mattlass
Chanca Piedra (stone breaker) has been used for centuries by South Americans. Aren't you sick of doctors by now?
GeorgeV
I had this kind of procedure done over 20 years ago and had it done twice. I wasn't sedated or anesthetized and it was on an outpatient basis. Unfortunately my stone was so hard that the procedure only broke small pieces off. I later had to have the stone removed surgically.
clepstein
I've had bilateral kidney stones periodically since 1977. The pain is murderous. Often I have had to endure a uretoscopy procedure to grab them and yank them out. Ouch! Sometimes ESWL works. In either case I start out sedated and end up with a catheter for a week or two. If ANYTHING makes this process easier and less painful, I'm 100% for it.
Robert M Olson
I had this done a year ago and it worked great... broke it up so well that there was no discomfort passing the stones.
Rusty Harris
First time I had stones, I was 25...didn't know what it was. Out with the guys having beer all night. Woke up with a lower back pain. Went to the bathroom, dribble, little blood. Was doubled over so bad, called a buddy to run me to the ER. Nurse said it sounded like kidney stones. I was thinking this marble sized things I'd seen photos of. She took her ink pin, made a dot on the palm of my hand, said it was probably this big. Then she had to add "That's as close as any man will come to experiencing labor pains". Well, if that's the truth, thank GOD he put women in charge of birthing babies!
Dan Lewis
Dave's Kidney stone bustin' emporium.
You get your own little easily mop up-able room where you can lay on the floor if you feel the need, before or after the procedure.
Standard procedure: 1. Enter self treatment room 2. Close door 3. Disrobe 4. Back up to illuminated pad on the wall.
Ultrasound data of your stone's placement will be present on the viewing screen to assist the patient in centering for the shockwaves.
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