|Dr. Ralph Clayman, pictured with the daVinci robot, is one of the country’s leaders in the field of minimally invasive surgery.|
As anyone who has suffered from the condition knows, kidney stones are extraordinarily painful. UC Irvine’s urologists, however, are using advanced techniques – many of which they developed – to quickly and less-painfully remove or disintegrate kidney stones. In fact, the leaders in this field at UC Irvine have not had to perform traditional open kidney stone surgery for more than 15 years. They pioneered the use of a single small incision (about a half-inch) in kidney stone surgery, using specially designed rigid and flexible kidney scopes combined with lasers and ultrasonic probes under endoscopic and X-ray guidance, to remove ureter and kidney stones with a minimum of pain and a short recovery time. Urologists also have extensive experience in using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, focusing the shock waves to break up kidney stones without surgical intervention. UC Irvine has introduced a new apparatus, the Econolith lithotripter, to treat kidney stones in this way. Furthermore, UC Irvine urologists have helped develop the necessary tools (rigid and flexible ureteroscopy) required to access ureteral and kidney stones through the bladder, thereby allowing treatment of smaller stones all along the urinary tract without the need for any incisions whatsoever.
In addition to their pioneering work on kidney stones, surgeons at the Department of Urology were among the first to develop the laparoscopic approach to treating simple kidney cysts as well as cysts in patients with adult polycystic kidney disease. Instead of the traditional 10- to 12-inch incision, surgeons use three or four half-inch incisions to access these painful cysts. More than 80 percent of patients experience relief from chronic kidney pain after treatment.
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