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Can drugs or laser help remove kidney stones?

Q: I had severe back pain and the doctor did IVP test and ultrasound scan and found that it was due to a kidney stone in the upper ureter. The size of the stone is 1.8 cm and 0.4 cm. Then I was admitted in the hospital and doctors tried Ureteroscopic Stone Removal method. It was unsuccessful because my urethra was thick. But a stent has been inserted between the kidney and bladder. Then they sent me for ESWL (Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy) treatment. Though I underwent this treatment thrice, the stone is broken only into two. The doctor advised me for a fourth sitting. He asked me to take plenty of water and no tablets were prescribed. Is there any tablet available to dissolve the stone? What is meant by Laser treatment and how is laser used for stone removal?

A:Management of kidney stones involves the prescription of certain medicines to prevent the recurrent formation of stones. These drugs influence the amount of acid or alkali in the urine involved in crystal/stone formation, and/ or increase the solubility of precipitating factors in the urine thereby preventing the formation of stones. However the type of drug recommended in each case depends upon the chemical composition/type of kidney stone one has. Irrespective of the type of kidney stone, it is recommended to drink at least 1.5-2 litres of liquids daily to prevent the recurrent formation of stones primarily through the increased solubility of stone forming factors in the urine. LASER (Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation) technology involves the emission of a narrow beam of energy (through a small instrument called an endoscope inserted into the urethra up to the site of the stone in the ureter) which is used to vaporize the small stones, leaving a fine dust that can be washed out. The procedure called laser lithotripsy requires a short hospital stay, usually less than 24 hours.

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