October 7, 2008

New Stones Procedure Now Available in Holmes County



Staff Writer

MILLERSBURG -- As the Germans attempted to develop faster jets decades ago, they came across one experiment where water droplets would end up damaging the planes as they broke the sound barrier.

Now that energy, essentially a series of shock waves, turned into a procedure called extra corporal lithotripsy and is used in medical procedures to remove kidney stones. And for the first time, Holmes County residents can get that procedure without having to go outside the county.

"It is common, to a community not unlike Holmes County, really everywhere patients present with some sort of stone," Pomerene Chief Financial Officer Rob Molnar. "Until this ... patients had left the county to receive treatment for these stones."

Pomerene Hospital elected to rent the machine -- rather than a major commitment of capital dollars -- at its August meeting.

Dr. Steven Ochs, of Urology One Incorporated, sees patients every second and fourth Thursday of the month for treatment at the Millersburg Medical Building.

"I've only been coming down for a couple of months. I've had a lot of cases," he said. "They said they were having to refer a lot of those patients to Wooster or Canton."

Ochs, who commutes from Canton to perform the procedure, said the process has improved -- not only in size but also in performance -- over the years.

The equipment used to be hauled by a semitrailer because it was so large. Now it can be rolled into the operating room.

The process to remove a kidney stone used to involve an incision and a five-day hospital stay for recovery.

Now it's a series of targeted shock waves that will pulverize the stones. Once that is done, a patient then can pass them on through their system. In some cases, the procedure can be done on an outpatient basis, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

According to the NKF, "about 70-90 percent are found to be free of stones within three months."

"It replaced having to do open surgery," Ochs said, of the new technology.

Reporter Chris Leonard can be reached at 330-674-1811 or e-mail [email protected]

Originally published by By CHRIS LEONARD Staff Writer.

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