Each year, more than half a million people go to emergency rooms for kidney stone problems. The National Kidney Foundation estimates that one in 10 people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives. A new procedure at Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center offers a non-invasive treatment for kidney stones.
Kidney stones are hard, crystallized particles that form in the kidney or urinary tract. They don’t always cause noticeable symptoms, but problems can occur when they begin to pass out of the body, sometimes resulting in severe pain.
Equipment now at Fort Duncan treats kidney stones with a process called shock wave lithotripsy, which breaks kidney stones into tiny pieces, so they are small enough to pass in the urine.
“After the procedure, some people might feel a little soreness, but most people don’t feel anything when the fragments pass,” says board-certified Urologist Michael R. Crone, MD, who began performing the first lithotripsy procedures at Fort Duncan in May 2016.
Most patients are in and out of the hospital the same day, and the procedure takes about an hour. Anesthesia helps to reduce any discomfort and ensures that patients stay still during the treatment.
Shock wave lithotripsy is the most common treatment for kidney stones in the U.S., according to the National Kidney Foundation. Your doctor can tell you if you are a good candidate.
“Some people may have a kidney stone that’s not bothering them and decide to wait on treatment; then it passes and it’s very painful, and they have to have it treated in the emergency room,” says Dr. Crone. “Now that we have this machine and can treat even smaller stones, there’s no reason for people not to seek treatment.”
Dr. Crone provides diagnosis and treatment for kidney stones and other bladder, prostate and urinary tract conditions. To make an appointment, call 830-757-4900.
Learn more about urology at Fort Duncan Regional Medical Center.