IU Health uses new technology that obliterates kidney stones

4 Your Health

INDIANAPOLIS–One in ten Americans will come down with a kidney stone in their lifetimes.

This painful condition usually associated with nausea can be confirmed with a cat scan. Medicines are available for treatment but for those patients with multiple stones who find themselves in emergency rooms periodically, MOSES technology could be an option.

Kidney stones are a mixture of crystals that grow on top of each other. They are formed in urine that is very concentrated or urine that has a predisposition to forming crystals.

Dr. Marcelino Rivera is a urologist with IU Health and has used MOSES on a number of his patients.

“When we fire a typical laser a single pulse goes to the stone. But with this new technology, we actually create a single pulse that creates a kind of vacuum and then a second pulse actually goes and hits the stone and breaks it apart,” says Dr. Rivera.

“So it gives us more control over what we’re doing with the stone. We can actually fragment it into smaller pieces – so called ‘dusting’ is a term we use – and it gives us more control over stone movement. So the stone isn’t moving away from us when we’re trying to fragment. It’s actually made stationary.”

The FDA approved the MOSES technology and it’s been available to patients since 2017. It can also be used in cases involving the prostate.

“We can treat stones and we can do surgery or they can pass them,” says Dr. Rivera. “But the really important next step is for patients with kidney stones is get evaluated and figure out why they are making the stones because in 90 percent of patients we can actually find the reason why they are making the kidney stones. We can prescribe medications or dietary recommendations to reduce their risk.”

Joni Dennis of Illinois had her most recent bout of kidney stones back in August of 2020. She learned about IU Health’s MOSES technology and got right in to see Dr. Rivera.

She had her first treatment in February and the second and final round in March. She has suffered with bouts of kidney stones since 1992.

“It’s true you’d rather have childbirth than you would with a kidney stone,” says Joni. “Because the pain does not let up.”

After her last surgery in March, she had relief.

“As soon as I had that six week check up after March 3rd, I just got back into the gym, started walking and I feel great.”

Dr. Rivera said Joni had an extreme case and is happy for her – the MOSES technology took care of her pain. He hopes other kidney stone patients get treatment.

“If we do nothing, in about five years there is a 50 percent chance they are going to have another kidney stone event.”

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