While kidney stones have long been considered one of the most painful conditions, they are quickly also becoming one of the most common. One in 10 Americans will develop these solid concentrations of minerals in the kidneys — a number that continues to rise, especially among women and children.
Fortunately, advances in diagnosis, treatment and prevention are more than keeping pace — all of which can be found at the newly created St. Jude Kidney Stone Center.
“By bringing together a team of experts in urology, nephrology and nutrition, we offer a single point of care for patients suffering from acute or recurrent kidney stones,” explains Eric Tygenhof, MD, a board-certified urologist and expert in stone treatment. “The result is more comprehensive and convenient care.”
Small “pebbles” of salt and minerals build up in the urine creating kidney stones that can range in size from a small grain to a golf ball. Medications can help speed the passage of smaller stones and new noninvasive procedures use high-energy sound waves or lasers to safely and painlessly break apart larger stones. Although many kidney stones are treated non-surgically or minimallyinvasively — often as a simple outpatient procedure — the center also offers specialized experience in complex cases, including one of the region’s only surgeons trained in kidneysparing robotic surgery procedures.
A multidisciplinary approach means that while the Kidney Stone Center’s urologists bring specific expertise to treatment, board-certified nephrologists focus on the overall kidney health of patients. A nutritionist works handin- hand with patients on a personalized plan to reduce the risk of future stone formation.
Most kidney stone patients will develop another one, making prevention — including metabolic evaluation to identify the source of the problem — a key part of the center’s focus. “Today we know so much more about how and why stones form,” Dr. Tygenhof explains, “allowing us to tailor treatment and prevention to the individual.”
To make an appointment with the St. Jude Kidney Stone Center, please call (714) 446-5551.