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Medical Moment: Urology for the 21st century

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By The Staff

I am very excited about joining the medical center and the wonderful community of Los Alamos. I would like to introduce myself and give a brief overview of how modern urology uses many new techniques and technology to provide better, safer and less painful treatment for a variety of diseases.

And I am pleased be able to offer all of them right here at Los Alamos Medical Center.

Urology goes a long way back in time. Descriptions of operations for bladder stones were found in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Hindu writings.

Our specialty has always been on the forefront of medical art as it evolved, frequently being the first field to introduce an entirely new way of treating a disease.

For instance, the first medical endoscope – an instrument designed to look inside the body through a natural passage of a human body – was designed and used by a German urologist in 1878. Urologists strive to adhere to the tradition of embracing innovation today as they have in the past. Common urologic technologies include:

Laparoscopy: This method of performing complex surgery inside the abdominal cavity, with a camera and special instruments inserted through small incisions, has been gaining increased use in urology.

Many operations for benign and malignant diseases of the kidney and prostate are now performed in this fashion, reducing the time needed for recovery and greatly diminishing patients’ pain.

Lasers: Urologists use a variety of lasers that allow precise delivery of very high energy through sophisticated endoscopes to treat kidney stones, enlarged prostate or small bladder tumors.

The wavelength of the laser used is chosen to produce the best results for the type of structure being treated. Patients have minimal or no discomfort and usually go home the day of the procedure.

Microwaves and radio frequency: Devices that use this type of energy rely on the effect of heating produced when an antenna is placed inside or near the treated organ. I am very excited about joining the medical center and the wonderful community of Los Alamos. I would like to introduce myself and give a brief overview of how modern urology uses many new techniques and technology to provide better, safer and less painful treatment for a variety of diseases.

And I am pleased be able to offer all of them right here at Los Alamos Medical Center.

Urology goes a long way back in time. Descriptions of operations for bladder stones were found in ancient Egyptian, Greek and Hindu writings.

Our specialty has always been on the forefront of medical art as it evolved, frequently being the first field to introduce an entirely new way of treating a disease.

For instance, the first medical endoscope – an instrument designed to look inside the body through a natural passage of a human body – was designed and used by a German urologist in 1878. Urologists strive to adhere to the tradition of embracing innovation today as they have in the past. Common urologic technologies include:

Laparoscopy: This method of performing complex surgery inside the abdominal cavity, with a camera and special instruments inserted through small incisions, has been gaining increased use in urology.

Many operations for benign and malignant diseases of the kidney and prostate are now performed in this fashion, reducing the time needed for recovery and greatly diminishing patients’ pain.

Lasers: Urologists use a variety of lasers that allow precise delivery of very high energy through sophisticated endoscopes to treat kidney stones, enlarged prostate or small bladder tumors.

The wavelength of the laser used is chosen to produce the best results for the type of structure being treated. Patients have minimal or no discomfort and usually go home the day of the procedure.

Microwaves and radio frequency: Devices that use this type of energy rely on the effect of heating produced when an antenna is placed inside or near the treated organ.

Today, we use these methods for minimally invasive procedures to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), a very common condition affecting men over the age of 50, in a safe, comfortable office setting. Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) and Transurethral Microwave Therapy have become very popular alternatives to daily medication for men with BPH and for those whose medications no longer work.

Radio frequency devices can also be used to treat kidney cancer.

Cryotherapy: This treatment is used to destroy malignant tumors of the prostate and kidney by freezing them to a very low temperature, eliminating the need for a major surgical operation.

The current generation of cryosurgical probes, based on technology initially used to increase accuracy of heat-seeking missiles, utilizes the principle that a gas cools down as it expands inside a thin needle. The urologist places one or several of these needles into a tumor and then observes the borders of a growing ice ball with live ultrasonic imaging.

This allows for very precise destruction of cancer while preserving surrounding tissues. Patients report little pain after the procedure, and the hospital stay is short.

Thank you for welcoming me to northern New Mexico. If you have any questions, please contact me at pavel.mourachov@lpnt.net.

Dr. Pavel Mourachov is the new urologist at Los Alamos Surgical Associates.

Today, we use these methods for minimally invasive procedures to treat benign prostatic hypertrophy (BPH), a very common condition affecting men over the age of 50, in a safe, comfortable office setting. Transurethral Needle Ablation (TUNA) and Transurethral Microwave Therapy have become very popular alternatives to daily medication for men with BPH and for those whose medications no longer work.

Radio frequency devices can also be used to treat kidney cancer.

Cryotherapy: This treatment is used to destroy malignant tumors of the prostate and kidney by freezing them to a very low temperature, eliminating the need for a major surgical operation.