Colchester General Hospital has become the first hospital in Essex to provide a revolutionary new technique for treating patients with kidney stones.
It is one of only about half-a-dozen hospitals in England offering the minimally-invasive procedure known as ultra-mini PCNL (percutaneous nephrolithotomy).
Patients spend just one night in hospital compared with 2-3 nights for standard PCNL and are left with a scar which is barely visible.
One of the patients to have benefited is grandmother Marion Brown, 67, who lives on John De Bois Hill, Ardleigh.
She made a swift and full recovery after having ultra-mini PCNL to remove a medium size kidney stone.
“For two years before the operation, I had pain in my lower back on the right-hand side which got worse over time,” she said.
“On one occasion, I was rolling around in agony on the bedroom floor and my husband had to call an ambulance to take me to hospital. I would rather give birth than go through that again!
“The moment I came round from the operation I knew I was better, and I didn’t even need any painkillers. The staff were brilliant and I couldn’t believe the ease of it all.”
Mrs Brown, who is retired after 19 years working at the Williams & Griffin department store in Colchester, said she was in so much pain in the six months before she had surgery that she had to keep sitting down when she was out shopping, but is now back to normal.
Mr Sam Datta, Consultant Urological Surgeon, said Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust had recently invested £8,000 on equipment to provide ultra-mini PCNL.
“Ultra-mini PCNL is carried out under a general anaesthetic and can usually be completed in under
The new procedure uses a flexible telescopic instrument called a nephroscope which is 1mm in diameter and fitted with a laser.
This is passed into a 4mm incision in the patient’s back and then into the kidney. The surgeon can see the kidney stone on a monitor and then uses the laser to break it up. Afterwards, the nephroscope sucks up the stone dust and tiny fragments.