Jan 31, 2012Science and Technology
Ultrasound technology detects and treats kidney stones

In space, the risk of developing kidney stones is exacerbated by environmental conditions. The health risk is also greater because resource limitations and distance from Earth restrict treatment options. Scientists with the National Space Biomedical Research Institute are developing an ultrasound technology that could overcome challenges associated with kidney stone treatment, both in space and here at home. The new technology detects stones with advanced ultrasound imaging and provides treatment by ‘pushing’ the stone with focused ultrasound.  "We have a diagnostic ultrasound machine that has enhanced capability to image kidney stones in the body," said Dr. Michael Bailey, an engineer at the University of Washington and a collaborator on this work. "We also have a capability that uses ultrasound waves coming right through the skin to push small stones or pieces of stones toward the exit of the kidney, so they will naturally pass, avoiding surgery."

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