Lithotripsy – Non-invasive Kidney Stone Treatment

It is estimated that over half a million people will go to the emergency room for kidney stone problems and roughly ten percent of people will have a kidney stone at some time in their lives. Kidney stones grow when minerals and salts in urine crystalize and form stones. Usually, the chemicals that cause kidney stones are processed by the kidney and washed out of the body through urine, but sometimes the concentration is high enough that hard stones form. Kidney stones can be as small as a grain of sand and as large as a pebble and can cause an array of symptoms. Though more often found in adults, kidney stones are found in children as young as five. 

While there is no single cause for kidney stones there are a few lifestyle choices that may impact whether stones develop. Not drinking enough water, consuming high amounts of salt, eating meat-heavy diets, and genetics may all be important factors as to whether you may develop kidney stones.Dr. Stephen Lucero standing next to the Holy Cross Hospital Lithotripsy machine. The body usually processes and flushes smaller stones without needing medical intervention, but the process is painful. Luckily there are some fantastic non-invasive solutions that break up the size of the stones, and we have access to this technology right here in Taos.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a process that breaks up kidney stones without needing surgery. High energy shockwaves are focused on kidney stones and the process breaks up the stones into small pieces that will pass naturally through urine. The non-invasive lithotripsy treatment usually takes less than an hour and most patients can return home within hours of the procedure.

Lithotripsy causes less pain than many other treatments, offers a shorter treatment time, reduces follow-up procedures, is effective for children and adults, and is available at Holy Cross Hospital. You don’t need to leave Taos for great care. If you ever have the unfortunate development of kidney stones, you have access to non-invasive treatment right here in Taos.