On the
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Since
1997
The Kidney Stone WebSite by Roger Baxter
An Educational Resource for Sufferers with Kidney Stones
by Roger Baxter
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Eliminating the Kidney Stone
Unless the kidney stone is larger than 1/4 inch (or 5mm) in diameter it will most likely pass without medical intervention ... except for the administration of pain killers to allow the sufferer to endure through the episode which may last for several days. Those between 1/4 inch and 1/2 inch in diameter are less likely to pass on their own as they get larger.

If the kidney stone is larger than 1/2 inch (or 10mm) in diameter it will likely need to be either removed by surgery or by lithrotripsy. Stones have been known to become as large as the size of golf balls. It is not necessary to remove a stone unless it causes other problems. Large stones usually remain in the kidney without symptoms, although they may damage the kidney.

A complete diagnosis of kidney stones should include blood screens, 24 hour urine samples, provocative calcium loading tests, and stone analysis to determine the type of stone, its underlying cause, and proper treatment, and future stoone prevention.

Lithotripsy
The kidney stone machine fragments kidney stones by use of extracorporeal shock wave lithrotripsy (ESWL). This roughly one to three hour long process is known as lithrotripsy - which means stone crushing. It uses high energy shock waves which are focused at the exact location of the stone (located by use of x-rays) while the semi-anesthetized sufferer is suspended in a tank of warm water.
(PHOTO of Lithotriptor at Midwest Stone Institutes) Newer lithrotriptors have eliminated the tank of water in favor of an enclosed bag of water that is placed in direct contact with the sufferer's body to transfer the shockwaves without the need to actually be immersed into the water.

During a treatment up to 3000 lithrotripsy shock waves vibrate the stone so that it shatters into smaller sand-like fragments usually without injury to surrounding tissue. Pressure is felt, but not pain. This process is repeated until the doctors can see on the x-rays that the stone has been crushed by the shock waves. (DIAGRAM of a Lithotriptor ) The resulting stone fragments (some not so small and most in jagged shapes) then pass out of the body over a period of time that may be as long as three months or more. Passing these fragments are similar to passing small stones; and more than one sufferer has stated that next time they will opt for some type of physical stone removal to avoid the prolonged painful period of these fragments being passed.

The most common type of stones, calcuim oxalate, is the most difficult type to break up with shockwave lithrotripsy due to its extreme hardness. While some larger or complicated cases may require more than one treatment, lithotripsy usually allows the sufferer to return to their normal life (with the aid of medications to reduce the pain and nausea caused by passing the fragments) in just a few days.

Kidney Stone Surgery
Kidney stone removal surgery is serious. It is resorted to in less than 5 percent of the kidney stone cases. During surgery the doctor actually opens up the kidney and physically takes out the offending stones. The surgery scar can be 5 to 10 inches long. Recovery from the surgery takes four to six weeks.

The most serious factor against such surgery is that a kidney can withstand being opened up by surgery only once or twice and still remain adequately functional. It is estimated that each time a surgeon cuts through the meat of a kidney it will lose 20 percent of its functionality.

Alternative Methods of Treatment
For that reason there have been developed several less invasive techniques for physical removal of stones that will not pass on their own. These include ureteroscopy: sending instruments up through the urethra, the bladder, and into the ureter to grab the stone and pull it out.

Another alternative method is the use of a laser threaded along that same path which is then used to vaporize the stone still inside the ureter.

A third alternative (called PNL for short) is to enter the kidney through a small hole made in the back and into the kidney through which the stone can be removed.

A new technique is call lithoclast. It uses air pressure to vibrate and break up the kidney stone. The the fragments are removed with forceps or flushed with water and then suctioned out.

SITE CONTENTS

Why Be Concerned
Definition
Location
Causes
Symptoms
Eliminating the Stone
Lithotripsy
Surgery
Alternatives
Recurrance
Chemical Compostion
Prevention
Links to Related Sites
Visitor's Comments
Add Your Comments
Kidney Stone Books


History of 'The Kidney Stone Web Site"
About Roger Baxter
Other Web Sites by RB

Contact Roger Baxter
Suggest a Link


Privacy Policy








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Roger Baxter

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Disclaimer
Data at this web site should be used for informational purposes only. It is not intended for treatment or diagnostic purposes. Individuals with specific questions should seek the advice of a physician.

Previous page
Causes and Symptoms of Kidney Stones

Next Page
Recurrence, Chemical Composition,
and Prevention of Kidney Stones

Links to Other Sections of The Kidney Stone Web Site

Why Be Concerned
Definition
Location
Causes
Symptoms
Eliminating the Stone
Lithotripsy
Surgery
Alternative Treatments
Recurrance
Chemical Compostion

Prevention
Links to Related Sites
Suggest a Link
Visitor's Comments
Add Your Comments
History of 'The Kidney Stone Web Site"
About Roger Baxter
Other Web Sites by RB
Email Roger Baxter
Privacy Policy
Kidney Stone Books


Latest update January 10, 2006