Urology

Lithotripsy Treatment for Kidney Stones: Terry Ihrig

Terry's Story

Terry IhrigTerry Ihrig's plans for a long-awaited Caribbean cruise certainly didn't include a kidney stone.

But several days before the trip, tests showed the pain emanating from her back was indeed a kidney stone.

"At first, my family doctor suggested I go home; take a muscle relaxant; drink a lot of fluid; and, try to pass it on my own," Terry, a nurse manager at Westwing Place in DeWitt, recalls. "But then we reconsidered the timeline. I was leaving on a cruise in a week that my husband, Dennis, and I had been planning for six months. We didn't want the pain of a kidney stone to ruin it, and my doctor and I decided to seek another solution."

That's when Terry experienced the value of Smart Care -- the array of non-invasive and minimally invasive procedures offered through Genesis and its joint venture partners that get you back to your life quickly.

Terry called the professionals at Urological Associates, P.C. and their Quad City Regional Kidney Stone Center in Davenport. By 1 p.m. that very same day, she was undergoing an outpatient stone removal procedure at Spring Park Surgery Center. She was home for dinner. "Recovery time was minimal, and I was able to have a great time on my cruise," she says.

Most kidney stones cause pain so severe it is unforgettable. If a stone won't pass naturally, the Quad City Regional Kidney Stone Center has a variety of methods to give patients fast relief.

"We have an on-call kidney stone program. If patients or their doctors call this office, we will try to work them in that very same day to see them," says urologist William Mobley, M.D. "If appropriate, we'll have them treated and home for supper -- without their stone.

"If they call late in the day or in the middle of the night, we'll have them come in at 7 a.m. the next morning. Again, our goal is to have them home without the stone before supper."

QC's Only Permanent Lithotripter

Spring Park Surgery Center, 3319 Spring St., has the first and only permanently based lithotripter in the Quad Cities region. The center is partly owned by Genesis.

Dr. Mobley stresses: "The permanently based lithotripter is unique to this practice and institution, but it's only one piece of this concept of removing the stone and getting the patient home the same day."

He estimates that half of kidney stone patients can use the lithotripter. It depends on the location, the size of the stone, and if doctors can target it on the x-ray. Daily access to lithotripsy means less time in pain, less time off work and lower cost than major kidney stone surgery, he adds.

"Patients have some recovery after the procedure, but time is on their side."

Terry Ihrig's stone was located in the lower ureter, almost near the bladder, and thus, needed another form of lithotripsy. She was given anesthesia, and Dr. Mobley passed a ureteroscope (a hollow, tube-like device) up into the bladder and threaded it to the ureter and used a different instrument to break up the stone. To reduce the pain, a ureteral stent was inserted for easier passage of the stone fragments.

When Same-Day Lithotripsy is Appropriate

"We encourage people with small stones to wait and see if they pass on their own," Dr. Mobley says. "But there are four reasons we would treat a patient here that same day:

  • "First, the pain is so excruciating that we can't get on top of it with regular pain medication and the patient is begging us to remove the stone.
  • Second, the patient has nausea and vomiting and can't reasonably be sustained with fluid.
  • Third, there's an infection associated with the stone that's blocking the flow of urine, so it can't get out.
  • The last reason is if the patient is tired of having the stone, of losing work, of not getting any sleep. Maybe they've tried to pass the stone for 2-3 days and not made adequate progress. Then we will discuss it and decide, 'It's time. It doesn't look like this is going to pass on its own.' "

Terry appreciated the quick resolution of her kidney stone. "The center is busy, but it runs like a well-oiled machine. I called in the morning, was in the O.R. by 1 p.m., and home a couple of hours after that and had a very minimal recovery time. I was able to enjoy my cruise."

For more information, call Urological Associates and the Quad City Regional Kidney Stone Center at (800) 456-0407.

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