New sound-wave device will allow destroying kidney stones without surgery

The first 19 people have experienced a new method of getting rid of kidney stones by crushing them with sound waves. Blast wave lithotripsy (BWL) technology has successfully treated the majority of stones, which is good news for people with this common ailment. Up to 15% of people experience kidney stones. Often the small grains of sand come out on their own, but many still need surgery to avoid severe kidney damage.

For many years, doctors have used sound waves to break up kidney stones with extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (EWL), a method of intense acoustic pulses that requires sedation or even anesthesia. VVL differs from EUVL in that it can be performed outside the hospital with a portable device and without sedation. VVL is a short, cyclic pulse of ultrasound that crushes the stone into pieces 2 mm in diameter or smaller.

VFL was applied to 19 patients with up to three large stones ≤12 mm, 10 minutes per stone. Ninety percent of the stones were shattered, with 39% of the target stones fragmented into pieces less than 2 mm, and 52% had incomplete fragmentation. Doctors say that most of the remaining grains should come out on their own without further intervention. In this case, the VVL provides only a small and controlled damage to the external tissues.

The VBL method will undergo further research before it is widely used in clinics. The optimal way of its application must be derived, and the ultimate goal will be to develop a treatment that can be quickly implemented at home when patients first develop the disorder.

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