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Wednesday's Health Report: Surgeons working to make kidney stone removal surgeries less invasive

3 weeks 3 days 17 hours ago Wednesday, May 22 2024 May 22, 2024 May 22, 2024 5:45 PM May 22, 2024 in Health
Source: CNN

BATON ROUGE — While most kidney stones can pass on their own, larger ones may cause bleeding, kidney damage or ongoing urinary tract infections.

In those cases, different surgical procedures may be required.

"Over the last several years, we have worked increasingly to make surgery even less invasive," said Aaron Potretzke, a Mayo Clinic surgeon.

Potretzke performs hundreds of kidney stone surgeries each year. One of the most common is a ureteroscopy.

"So we use a very small camera, about the size of a telephone cord, to go in through the urinary tract and visualize the stone, whether it be in the ureter or the kidney, or sometimes even in the bladder. And then we would break that stone up, if need be, usually with a laser, and then pick out the individual pieces," he said.

Another minimally invasive option is a percutaneous surgery, which may be recommended to remove very large kidney stones.

"So we make a small incision, usually about the width of a finger, in someone's back, and then use larger instruments and cameras to look into the kidney and break up those stones," Potretzke said.

Potretzke says doctors at Mayo Clinic continue striving to make those incisions even smaller.

"And that actually ends up mattering because, while the incision on the outside is smaller, the actual amount of meat of the kidney that you're disrupting is quite a bit less. And therefore, we think that it, in many cases, may reduce the risk of complications, reduce the risk of pain and enhance recovery," Potretzke said.

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