The Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has introduced Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL) technology, for the treatment of patients suffering from kidney stones diseases.
Kidney stones are as a result of too much of certain minerals in the body that accumulate as stone forming substances in the urine.
A senior specialist at the Urology Unit of the KBTH, Dr Evans Akpakli, who disclosed this in an interview with the Ghanaian Times, Friday, said that with the new intervention, kidney stones are removed within few hours and the patients discharged within two days.
In previous cases, he said, kidney stones were removed through open surgeries in which surgeons use an incision in the person's abdomen or side to reach the kidney and remove the stones, which takes within six to nine days of hospitalisation.
Though falling short of giving the statistics as pertaining to the past years, Dr Akpakli noted that the hospital has from March to August this year, operated on 100 patients.
"Globally, majority of those who have kidney stones are the working class between ages 40-60 and often affect males but recently in Ghana we are having cases across all ages, even among children and it's getting alarming."
Dr Akpakli noted that PCNL treatment could averagely cost between GHc 8,000 and GHc 10,000 unlike the open surgery.
According to him, PCNL was a minimally-invasive procedure to remove stones from the kidney by a small puncture wound through the skin, and most suitable to remove large stones of two centimeters (2cm) or more in size near the pelvic region.
The hospital, Dr Akpakli said has so far conducted seven PCNL surgeries since August, this year, when the method was introduced "and all these patients have been discharged, are doing well and going about their normal duties."
"This will reduce financial burdens on patients as they would not have to pay full cost of open surgery, which is much expensive and looking at how long it takes for one to recover and get back to active work the value cost is much higher", he said.
Dr Akpakli, however, deplored the increase in kidney stones disease among Ghanaians across all ages in recent times.
"Previously, blacks did not have kidney stones cases. It was a disease among the whites but now there are a lot coming to our facilities due to our diet. Sugary and fatty foods, the junks will predispose you to stone formation." he said.
Dr Akpakli said there was a link between stone formation and obesity, and a link between stone formation and diabetes, and link between junk food and obesity and diabetes and obesity.
He also mentioned factors, including dehydration, climate, hereditary conditions and drug abuse that predisposed people to the disease.
"Drink water as regularly as possible, not coke or other diluted drinks just water and eat well with lots of vegetables and fruits and exercise", Dr Akpakli advised.
He appealed to corporate entities and government to support the hospital and patients alike.
Dr Akpakli particularly requested the replacement of scan machine to readily examine patients "as we have to wait to sterilise the only one we have after every surgery before we can take care of another patient."
Kidney stones can affect any part of the urinary tract -- from kidneys to bladder, and often, stones form when urine becomes concentrated, allowing minerals to crystallise and stick together.