Monday, April 5, 2010

A beautiful kidney stone*

Maybe there is something inside me that enjoys searching in salt water for interesting things. Last Monday this resulted in me being attacked by vicious rocks. Today it was my turn to strike back. Using my trusty ultrasonic jack hammer it was my pleasure to pulverize a saline submerged stone. This stone was also causing pain; to one of my patients.
The procedure is called a percutaneous nephrolithotomy. Essentially, this is accomplished by placing a needle into the kidney and passing a wire through the needle into the kidney and down the ureter into the bladder. Then a balloon dilates a tract big enough to insert my nephroscope directly into the kidney to break up and remove the stones. We irrigate with saline to be able to see what we are doing.
Today, the patient had a very odd looking stone; Its vanilla, verrugated outer shell was atypical for a human stone. But then as we broke off the end, we could see that the inside was hollow like a geode with beautiful crystals visible throughout. I just had to get a picture of this unusual treasure while snorkeling through inner-space. I include it for your viewing pleasure. I know that some people will say 'Yuck' based on the awareness of its origin; I however, paused for a moment to reflect on its varied uniqueness before crushing it out of existence.
I know the patient will thank me later.


*Posted with patient permission


Wendy said...

When I clicked on your pic. I thought that looked like a geode but I could tell it came from in a body. It immediately made my mind think of my Uncle Mark that died last year, way too young, of colitis/rectal cancer. His hobby was using his back hoe to find thousands of geodes. He sold them all over the world and found some amazing specimens himself. Thanks for the memory!

Aunt Renie said...

It does look like a beautiful geode. God's handiwork is everywhere, tho we may question some applications.
And I find the process fascinating - modern medical miracles created by caring human engineers to increase quality and quantity of life!