The development of a new treatment may give doctors the opportunity to remove a patient’s kidney stones in a single procedure.
The procedure is known as bilateral simultaneous ureteroscopy and its aim is to clear both kidneys simultaneously, rather than requiring two operations to do so. The procedure involves the visualisation and positioning of the stones by using an ureteroscope. Once that part of the procedure has been completed, the doctor will use a laser beam to break up the stones.
Patients are currently being forced to undergo individual kidney treatment on two separate occasions. This requires hospitalisation on two occasions.
Kidney stones affect between 10 to 15% of males and around 2 to 7% of females. The stones are developed when salt crystal start to build-up and form little lumps similar to small stones. The lumps may lead to blockages in the urinary tract and could cause the patient to experience severe pain and recurrent infections. The lumps are not able to be flushed from the human body, hence the need for surgical intervention.
The Consultant Urological Surgeon at Southampton General Hospital, Bhaskar Somani, is aiding in the development of the surgical technique. He stated that the simultaneous procedure will lower the risks of surgery as only one procedure is necessary. For patients suffering from infections and who have stones in both kidneys, the new technique is beneficial as doctors are often not sure which side is the cause of the infection that is present.
He further stated that there are many surgeons who may not wish to undertake the simultaneous procedure as they are fearful of causing trauma to the patient’s kidneys. However, with the correct experience, confidence and expertise this new technique offers, the benefits of one procedure surpass the risks of performing additional surgical procedures during a single session.
The new technique has been used on 22 patients and has experienced a 92% success rate. More than 75% of these patients were allowed to return home on the same day. The others suffered minor complications compared to the traditional technique.
Image credit: Nick Gaydos