Health

Sound waves can successfully destroy kidney stones BEFORE a person needs to painfully pee them out

Sound waves can successfully destroy kidney stones BEFORE a person needs to painfully pee them out, study finds

  • A research team found that kidney stones can be fragmented using burst wave lithotripsy, lessoning the pain of passing them
  • The process uses ultrasound waves to attack the stone and break it into smaller pieces that can be easily passed
  • Kidney stones can occasionally require surgery if they are too large and painful for a person to pass naturally
  • Around 10% of Americans suffer a kidney stone every year, and it is especially painful for men 

Sound wave treatment may be able to break up kidney stones, helping a person avoid the devastating pain that comes along with trying to pass one, a study finds.

Researchers at the University of Washington, in Seattle, found that burst wave lithotripsy (BWL) is can fragment kidney stones into small enough pieces that they can easily be passed.

It only requires a quick ten minute treatment, and could help avoid other kidney stone treatments Americans, and men in particular, currently use to manage the stones.

Passing a kidney stone can be extremely painful, as the solid object has to travel and pass through the urinary tract to pass naturally.

Researchers found that burst wave lithotripsy could fragment kidney stones and make them easier for a person to pass without more serious medical intervention like surgery

Researcher, who published their findings Tuesday in the Journal of Urology, gathered 19 participants, each of which were suffering from a kidney stone, for the study.

The BWL process uses bursts of sounds to attack the kidney stone and break it into smaller bits.

It is not a very invasive procedure, and is much more simple and less resource intensive than surgery, or as painful as trying to pass the stone naturally.

In total, the 19 participants had 25 kidney stones between them. Each was treated with BWL for ten minutes.

The treatment was able to fracture 90 percent of the stones, and completely fragmented 40 percent of them.

Just over half of the stones were at least partially fragmented by the sound waves. 

Remaining fragments of the stones were small enough to be easily passed through by the patients with little pain.

Examination performed by researchers in post found no negative side effects and only small tissue injury caused to the patients who received the treatment. 

Around 10% of Americans suffer a kidney stone every year. The process of passing one can be incredibly painful and debilitating, and could sometimes require serious medical intervention

Around 10% of Americans suffer a kidney stone every year. The process of passing one can be incredibly painful and debilitating, and could sometimes require serious medical intervention

If widely adopted, the treatment could be a gamechanger in treating a condition that effects more Americans than some may believe.

Researcher write that around ten percent of Americans suffer form a kidney stone every year, costing the nation’s economy around $10 billion annually.

Kidney stones are formed when deposits of minerals form in a person’s organ, and eventually hardens.

The body needs to pass it to get rid of it, but that can be an extremely painful, arduous, process. 

People who are overweight or obese, do not drink enough water every day or make poor dietary choices are at most risk.

When a stone is too large to pass naturally it may cause extreme pain and require surgical intervention.

Reserchers write in a statement that they are  hopeful their findings ‘are a step toward an office-based lithotripsy for awake patients,’ as the treatment can avoid the need for anesthesia and more serious interventions.

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