Sutton Hospital invests in shockwave technology to treat kidney
20 March 2013
Sutton Hospital in Surrey, UK, has invested £450,000 in a
state-of-the-art lithotriptor machine to treat patients suffering
from kidney stones.
The device uses shockwave technology to break apart the stones
until they are small enough for a patient to pass in their urine.
This avoids the use of invasive surgery or general anaesthetic.
Dr Martin Stockwell, Joint Medical Director, said: "We are
absolutely delighted with our new lithotriptor machine. This
specialist equipment offers our patients the very best in the
treatment of kidney stones, and is already making a very real
difference to the lives of the people we treat. The lithotriptor is
'patient-friendly' in that it avoids unnecessary surgery, minimises
the pain felt by patients and allows them to return to normal life a
The department's most senior radiographer, Liz Eversden
explained: "The job of the kidneys is to remove waste products from
the blood and pass what the body doesn't need out through urine.
Occasionally, crystal-like deposits form kidney stones from the
waste products, which your body will try to pass in urine. This can
be extremely painful.
"This new piece of equipment allows us to precisely locate the
stones within the kidney using state-of-the-art X-ray and ultrasound
technology. We can then aim the shockwaves directly at the stones,
breaking them up effectively and efficiently. And, because we don't
need to use invasive techniques such as surgery, our patients do not
need an anaesthetic and are usually out of hospital within a couple
of hours of their procedure."
The lithotriptor department at Sutton Hospital, which first
opened its doors in 1998, is the only one of its kind in the area,
and looks after not only local patients but also those from Redhill,
Croydon and Kingston, currently performs over 1,000 treatments every
One patient who has completed her treatment in the department
said: "I had no idea I had kidney stones, and had absolutely no
symptoms until one night, from nowhere, I was suddenly in agony. I
was doubled over in pain. Honestly, it was worse than child birth.
At first, we thought it was appendicitis and I was rushed to my
local A&E in East Surrey. They did a scan and found that I had three
"From there, I was referred to Sutton Hospital and I've just
finished my second round of treatment here. I am just so relieved
the team have been able to treat me so quickly."
The new machine was funded by the Trust's annual capital
development plan, which funds approximately £10 million of
improvements across our hospitals each year.