GLEN BURNIE, Md. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- One in ten Americans will be affected by kidney stones at some point in their life and about a million patients will experience a kidney stone attack this year. While most stones will pass on their own, larger stones can be life-threatening. Now there is a new non-invasive treatment that can safely wipe out stones, even in extreme cases.
A sudden slip out of the shower one morning saved Stacy Cassell's life. "It was by the grace of God that I fell. If I wouldn't have fallen, we may have never have found them," said kidney stone patient Stacy Cassell.
Back pain from the fall sent her to the emergency room, but doctors found something much more serious, Staghorn kidney stones. Stones so big they nearly filled both kidneys.
"He's (the doctor) was like if we didn't find these you could have been dead by the end of the year," Cassell explained.
Doctor Julio Davalos says our bodies naturally flush out most kidney stones, but once they reach about the size of a raisin they become hard to pass. Stacy's were so large, surgery was her only option. Doctor Davalos used a new laser called lumenis versapulse on Stacy's stones. This enabled her to pass the stones on-her-own, lowering her risk of complications.
"This laser technology really helps in that manner in that I'm able to fragment the stone into minute grains of sand and that can just sort of pass out of the kidney and flush out," said Chesapeake Urologist Doctor Julio Davalos.
Since a special type of laser energy setting is used, there's a better chance that no other tissue is affected saving Stacy's kidneys and giving her a second chance with her son and dog Kelly.
Stacy's doctor told her she most likely got the stones because she doesn't keep herself hydrated.
The lumenis versapulse laser can be used in advanced cases like Stacy's or to dust smaller stones. The minimally invasive treatment usually requires general anesthesia, but patients can go home the same day.