Kidney Stone Breakthrough Called a Game Changer

A groundbreaking medical procedure for those with kidney stones will soon be offered at the University of Washington, after more than two decades of research. The procedure will get rid of painful kidney stones while the patient is awake, with no anesthesia needed. Still being run through clinical trials, the revolutionary procedure — called “burst wave lithotripsy” — uses an ultrasound wand and sound waves to break apart the kidney stones. Ultrasonic propulsion is then used to move the stone fragments out, potentially giving patients relief in 10 minutes or less. The technology is also making it possible for astronauts to travel to Mars, since they are at greater risk for developing kidney stones during space travel. While the technology is only available through clinical trials now, it may be available to used on patients in a regular office setting within the next year or so.