Kagay-an Kidney Center, the first in Cagayan de Oro and in Northern Mindanao, was recently officially inaugurated. The medical facility is located just across Maria Reyna Hospital along Archbishop Hayes Street.

The kidney center makes use of a Dornier Compact Sigma Lithotripsy machine (lithotripter) to treat patients with kidney stones using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).

ESWL is a non-invasive treatment of kidney stones (urinary calculosis) and biliary calculi (stones in the gallbladder or in the liver) using an acoustic pulse.

The lithotripter attempts to break up the stone with minimal collateral damage by using an externally-applied, focused, high-intensity acoustic pulse. The sedated or anesthesized patient lies down in the apparatus’ bed, with the back supported by a water-filled coupling device placed at the level of kidneys. A fluoroscopic x-ray imaging system or an ultrasound imaging system is used to locate the stone and aim the treatment. The lithotriptor has a half ellipsoid-shaped piece that opens toward the patient. The acoustic pulse is generated at the ellipsoidal focal point that is furthest from the patient and the stone positioned at the opposite focal point receives the focused shock wave. The treatment usually starts at the equipment’s lowest power level, with a long gap between pulses, in order to accustom the patient to the sensation. The frequency of pulses and the power level are then gradually increased, so as to break up the stone more effectively. The final power level usually depends on the patient’s pain threshold. If the stone is positioned near a bone (usually a rib in the case of kidney stones), this treatment may be more uncomfortable because the shock waves can cause a mild resonance in the bone which can be felt by the patient. The sensation of the treatment is likened to an elastic band twanging off the skin. Alternately the patient may be sedated during the procedure. This allows the power levels to be brought up more quickly and a much higher pulse frequency, often up to 120 shocks per minute.

The successive shock wave pressure pulses result in direct shearing forces, as well as cavitation bubbles surrounding the stone, which fragment the stones into smaller pieces that then can easily pass through the ureters or the cystic duct. The process takes about an hour. A ureteral stent (a kind of expandable hollow tube) may be used at the discretion of the urologist. The stent allows for easier passage of the stone by relieving obstruction and through passive dilatation of the ureter.

The kidney center is expected to treat patients in Northern Mindanao and neighboring areas.

Accordingly, one session of treatment costs around 60% less than open surgery. Also, ESWL using the Dornier Compact Sigma lithotriptor does not require hospitalization which would result to much savings for patients.

But in order to avoid such treatment, start not eating junk food…

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