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More urinary tract stones are being treated with surgery

Researchers in Oxford who analyzed recent trends related to urinary tract stones in the UK found a sustained and high prevalence of the condition, with an increased trend to treat patients with surgery.

The number of upper urinary tract stone episodes in hospitals increased from 83,050 in 2009-2010 to 86,742 in 2014-2015. The use of non-invasive shock wave lithotripsy remained stable over this time; however, surgical intervention for stones in the ureter or kidney rose nearly 50% from 12,062 to 18,055 cases in the 5-year study period. The procedure (ureteroscopy) involves inserting a small scope into the bladder and up the ureter (and sometimes further up into the kidney) to laser fragment stones.

“Around 10% of the adult population will attend hospital with a kidney stone in their lifetime. In the UK, there is a trend towards surgical intervention for kidney stones which mirrors other countries around the world,” said Dr. Hendrik Heers, co-author of the BJU International study. “If the current trends continue, surgical intervention will overtake non-invasive shock wave treatment within the next 3 years.”

Article: Trends in urological stone disease: a 5-year update of Hospital Episode statistics, Hendrik Heers and Benjamin W. Turney, BJU International, doi: 10.1111/bju.13520, published online 29 April 2016.