Living the Good Life Requires Good Urological Health

It's among the most basic of human functions. We drink water, the water cleanses our internal organs and keeps us hydrated and the toxins and waste removed by the water leave our bodies as urine.

And yet, the internal organs and vessels involved in carrying water and urine through the body represent an incredibly complex system. When any part of that system malfunctions, the result can be inconvenience, embarrassment, pain and serious illness.

At Munroe Regional Medical Center, staff urologists treat both male and female patients, performing dozens of different procedures to correct problems of the urinary tract, urethra, kidneys and the male genital tract.

da Vinci Surgical Robot

Munroe offers a comprehensive adult urology program with both top physicians and state-of-the-art equipment performing minimally invasive, as well as majory surgery. Part of Munroe's strong urology program includes highly advanced tools such as the da Vinci Surgical Robot. Initially developed by the U.S. military as a tool for remote surgery, the da Vinci eventually found a home in the most advanced hospital surgical suites in the country.

Harvey Taub, MD, a Munroe staff urologist, explains that the da Vinci allows doctors to operate laparoscopically, using instruments inserted in the patient through small incisions,and attached to the robot externally. The robot arms are controlled via a remote console with a 3-D screen that lets doctors view the surgical field clearly. Urologists also use the da Vinci to remove obstructions in the kidney or ureter, and in some bladder surgeries.

da Vinci Robot

Other procedures require less high-tech intervention. Kidney stones are a common complaint handled by Munroe urologists. The preferred method of dealing with the painful, pesky bits of hardened waste is to let the stone pass on its own. If that doesn't work, a procedure called lithotripsy, which send shock waves to the kidney, can be used to crush the stone to powder. Lithotripsy is non-invasive and uses an external machine to generate the shock waves. More serious cases may require laser surgery or conventional surgery to remove the stones. In cases where a kidney has been damaged by trauma or where tumors are present, doctors can perform minimally-invasive, hand-assisted laparoscopic surgery to remove part or all of the organ.

Although some kidney and urinary tract problems can be treated with medication, exercises and diet, doctors say it's important to have a range of surgical options. Some of Munroe Regional's additional urology treatment capabilities include:

Greenlight Laser for Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy (BPH)

Men with painfully enlarged prostates can find relief with photoselective vaporization of the prostate (PVP). This outpatient procedure is minimally invasive, performed under light anesthesia and involves using a cool laser to vaporize excess prostate tissue. Unlike earlier therapies, which use an electrical current to shave off prostate tissue, PVP results in less pain, very little bleeding and a shorter recovery period.

Interstim Therapy

To combat urge incontinence - which means incontinence resulting from overactive bladder muscles - Munroe doctors implant tiny electrodes under a patient's skin. The electrodes lightly stimulate the sacral nerve of the spine, which in turn causes the bladder to stop involuntarily contracting. Once the bladder muscles calm down, incontinence can be controlled.

Sling Therapy

When women suffer from stress incontinence, it often means the bladder muscle is weak. A sling of synthetic mesh, inserted through a small vaginal incision, can lift the bladder and urethra to their proper positions and offer support. The procedure is minimally invasive and successful in reducing incontinence for most patients.

Laparoscopic Kidney Surgery

Kidney cancers and growths can be removed by Munroe urologists using small incisions and manually-operated laparoscopic equipment. In fact, a whole kidney can be removed laparoscopically, leaving patients with less pain, shorter hospital stays and a significantly reduced recovery period.

ESWL and Holmium Laser Therapy

Kidney and urinary tract stones can cause painful pressure and blockages. Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy uses shock waves to bombard and break up the stones. For larger or more complex stones, a Holmium Laser provides a state-of-the-art, minimally invasive option for vaporizing these obstacles in the urinary tract.

For more information about Munroe's Urology program, please call our Health Resource Line at (352) 867-8181.