Mr Leye Ajayi MD FRCS(Urol)
Consultant Urological Surgeon
We all know that staying hydrated is important, but sometimes genetics and not drinking enough can cause obstructions in our system, known as kidney stones.
While it is normal for most of us to produce some sort of kidney stone that is passed out naturally through our urine, occasionally bigger stones do arise. Not only can these cause blockages of the urinary system, but if left undetected they can affect kidney function and lead to renal failure.
Recognising the symptoms
Mr Leye Ajayi is a Consultant Urological Surgeon at the St John and St Elizabeth Hospital (HJE) in St John’s Wood, North West London. He says, “When a patient presents with kidney stones it’s often something we can spot from across the room. Usually, the patient will have a sharp pain on the left or right side of their body causing them to writhe around in agony, which can result in nausea and vomitting. Other symptoms include a frequent need to urinate and blood in the urine. Kidney stones can be incredibly debilitating which is why we have a large urology team that can provide rapid access, same day treatment.”
After an initial assessment including a Computed Tomography (CT) scan, urine and sepsis check, treatment for the kidney stones can be decided based on size, location and whether they are currently causing an obstruction. NICE guidelines say that hospitals must offer treatment within 48 hours of a patient presenting, but in a busy NHS hospital the only service available would be the insertion of an emergency ureteric stent which allows the urine to bypass a blockage. This is only a temporary measure and the patient will need to return to have both the stent and stones removed, a wait that normally take several weeks to months. The waiting list time would have grown significantly during the global pandemic.
NICE guidelines say that hospitals must offer treatment within 48 hours of a patient presenting.
Same day treatment options
However, at HJE, both self-referred and private patients can access same-day treatment for kidney stones with a walk-in service available. This means no appointments are needed and consultation, imaging, treatment and aftercare are all provided together.
The urology team have continued to perform private treatment throughout the pandemic thanks to its state-of-the-art equipment and COVID-safe measures. Patients can also choose their surgery time and are never in the hospital longer than necessary. Unique to HJE, as a charity, every treatment helps fund the on-site hospice that provides free palliative and end of life care to the community.
Indeed, with new holmium laser and Thulium laser Fibre technology, non-surgical kidney stone treatment in the form of shockwave lithotripsy and miniturised keyhole surgery in the form of Mini PCNL are available. Patients can choose their surgery time and they will never be in the hospital longer than necessary. Kidney stones are fragmented using the latest technology which ensures minimal discomfort for the patient, reduced length of stay in hospital and an early return to work.
Mr Ajayi adds, “I would say to anyone suffering from kidney stones to come and see us. We offer individualised, patient centred care using state of the art technology. Not only are we equipped to deal with emergency presentations, but our technology reduces procedure times and facilitates same day discharge from hospital.”
Cost of treatments: