Focused Ultrasound Therapy
Focused ultrasound is a therapeutic technology that could transform the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with urinary obstruction. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasound energy precisely on existing urinary stents that have become obstructed deep in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue.
How it Works
Where the beams converge, focused ultrasound produces repeated bursts of energy that have been shown in a preclinical setting to disrupt the encrustations on removed urinary stents and allow them to be recanalized. The current practice is to have surgery to remove non-functioning stents and replace them with new ones. The plan is to use this approach to lengthen the time between stent replacements.
The primary option for treatment of urinary obstruction due to stent occlusion is to have invasive surgery for stent replacement. While significant work has been accomplished, there is still much to be done before this technology will be widely available.
For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a noninvasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications – such as like surgical wound healing or infection – at a lower cost. Focused ultrasound can reach the desired target without damaging surrounding tissue, and it can be repeated, if necessary.
At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound treatment of urinary obstruction due to an encrusted stent.
Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement
Focused ultrasound treatment for urinary obstruction due to stent encrustation is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.
Singh R, Samaddar A, Duchene D, Waller S, Yang X. Recanalize ureteral stents with focused ultrasound. Med Phys. 2023 May 8. doi: 10.1002/mp.16447. Online ahead of print. PMID: 37153961
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