Good news for kidney stone formers.
At the time this magazine reaches our readers, the first U.S. external shock wave kidney stone crushing machine will be in place at Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis, one of the nation's leading research and teaching hospitals. As its name implies, this equipment can disintegrate kidney stones within the kidney, and it does so without surgery and without risk to life. this extracorporeal technique targets high velocity shock waves on the kidney stones causing them to disintegrate into sand.
We visited Germany to observe the equipment and to interview the doctors and their patients who have had their stones removed. The are literally able to relax with music in a large tub of tepid water while their stones are being eliminated. My favorite patient was one who went shopping in Munich the day after his rather large stone was removed. If I ever have a stone, this is the only way to go, and I hope we will be able to use this type of equipment for eliminating calcium plaques and gallstones before long.
Over 300 patients have had their kidney stones removed in Munich, Germany, in this manner which requires almost no convalescence at all.
A team of German urologists will train personnel at Methodist Hospital, Indianapolis urologists have already performed the stone removals at Klinikum Grosshadern hospital in Munich, Germany, under the direction of the machinehs pioneer, Dr. Christian Chaussy. Our readers Dr Christian Chaussy. Our readers will remember reading about him in Post May/June, July/August, October and November 1981 issues. The equipment costs nearly $2,000,000. We hope that the macines will eventually become available in many medical centers of the U.S.
This surgery-free, non-invasive technique is not to be confused with another method of removing stones which has recently been heralded in newspapers and on tV as "avoiding major surgery." That method, which is now practiced in a number of centers all over the country, still involves an invasive procedure which necessitates making a rather large tract, the diameter of which is about the size of a man's thumb, through the body into the kidney to give access to the stone. One center which has done 12 cases has had 3 complications where surgery was still required. In one case, the pelvis of the kidney was lacerated and required major surgery to be repaired. In another complication, a patient's ureter was severed. The technique also frequently invovles basketing of the stone particles, which is never completely without risk.
We interviewed several of the urologists who are performing the ultrasonic lithotripsy, and all of them agreed that the German method, being non-invasive, is much superior.
Any of our membrs who have the option of waiting to have their stones removed are urged to consider delaying until the external shock wave stone crusher is available to them. Any readers wanting more information about the German equipment and/or wishing to be put in touch with U.S. or German patients who have had their stones removed in Munich, may write to the Kidney Stone Formers Club, P.O. Box 2166, Indianopolis, IN 46206.
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|Title Annotation:||Medical mailbox|
|Publication:||Saturday Evening Post|
|Date:||Jan 1, 1984|
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