Lithotripsy - a "no cut" procedure on patients which focuses ultrasound shock waves on their kidney stone, causing it to disintegrate. The small residual fragments are then passed naturally by the patient with little discomfort.
The high tech lithotripter machine has been installed in a blue 10 tonne vehicle and equipped with a sophisticated range of ancillary medical equipment, this unit is driven around New Zealand on a 28-day schedule.
Mr K.P. Samalia is a residing urologist accredited to use the mobile lithotripter from the Mercy Hospital docking bay. The mobile unit is driven by highly qualified radiographers who assist the urologists in the use of the equipment.
Upon entering the mobile unit, you will lie under the lithotripter and be given an anaesthetic. The degree of post-treatment discomfort will vary according to the size of the residual stone fragments, which subsequently will be passed naturally.
Kidney Stones are quite common: most pass naturally but in New Zealand between 450 to 750 people require surgery by urologists each year. This is normal in a country of New Zealand's population.
Previously the usual surgical procedure used to be an operation using a small telescope incorporating suction mechanisms. The telescope punctures the skin and kidney to access the stones. Large stones need to be shattered with a small ultrasound "jackhammer" before they can be sucked out. This procedure requires an anaesthetic, followed by approximately 4-8 days in hospital.
Source: Mobile Medical Technology, NZ Ltd, 1995
In most cases you will be referred to an urologist by your GP. Your urologist will discuss possible treatments suitable for your needs.
Being a non-invasive procedure, lithotripsy is less expensive than conventional stone surgery. Some private insurance companies cover this form of treatment. Please check with your own insurance company for clarification.