Skip to Main Content

Metro Health is first West Michigan system to obtain laser technology benefiting kidney stone patients

Metro Health – University of Michigan Health is the first health system in west Michigan to offer a new laser treatment for kidney stones, providing faster, easier and more-thorough relief for patients suffering from this painful condition.

Metro Health teamed up with Olympus America to offer the Soltive SuperPulsed Laser System, the first major innovation in laser technology in the past 20 years. The system can pulverize kidney stones in half the time it takes other laser systems. Also, it offers precise soft-tissue cutting and an improved ability to stop bleeding.  

“The pulsed laser energy is used to swiftly break up kidney stones,” said Dr. Ronald Grifka, Chief Medical Officer, Metro Health – University of Michigan Health. “Once the stones are reduced to fine particles, they are more easily washed out during the procedure, which is a significant benefit to patients.”

Kidney stones, pebble-like pieces of material that form in the kidney, are a significant and increasing problem in the United States. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates 11 percent of men and 6 percent of women will develop kidney stones in their lifetimes.

Larger kidney stones can get stuck in the urinary tract, causing severe pain, bleeding and a backup of urine. This condition results in more than 500,000 emergency room visits each year, according to the National Kidney Foundation.

Patients often require multiple procedures when kidney stone fragments don’t fully pass. This new laser technology helps prevent this problem by reducing stones to dust, limiting the chance of fragments developing into bigger stones. Patients also benefit by having to be under anesthesia for less time, contributing to a faster recovery. 

Another benefit from this innovative procedure is the device is smaller and more portable than existing equipment that requires a special outlet in the operating room. This pulsed laser device is an eighth of the size of previous equipment and operates on a standard 110-volt power outlet.

 “As an innovative and progressive organization, Metro Health has long recognized and leveraged the power of technology to improve patient care and outcomes,” Grifka said. “Adapting this new laser technology is another way that Metro Health continues to lead the way. We are pleased to offer this option to our patients.”

The new procedure is available at the Metro Health Park East Surgery Center, 4055 Cascade Road SE.