The Lithotripsy bus has been on the road since 1995 and has treated over 12,000 patients. It works on a five week roster spending three weeks in the North Island and two in the south. The driving is shared by three ‘steerologists’ and the operation of the equipment is carried out by four specialised Medical Radiation Technologists (MRTs) that work one week out of four. The urologists and Anaesthetists and other nursing and tech staff are local to your area and are trained to work on the bus when it visits.
Where we Go
The MMT lithotripsy service travels as far north as Whangarei and as far south as Invercargill, with many stops in between. It fits snugly onto the ferry for transport between the Islands. The lithotripsy service visits main centres.
The lithotripsy bus provides a mobile operating theatre environment with a dedicated lithotripsy machine for the treatment of kidney stones (and sometimes biliary stones or other calcifications). While very effective, the lithotripsy machines are expensive and most regions in New Zealand do not have a suicient case load to justify the purchase of their own equipment. The solution to this was to mobilise a purpose built unit allowing equal access to suitable patients throughout New Zealand.
Sharing the facility ensures that the service can be delivered in a cost effective manner. The mobile service also allows patients to be treated by their own urologists, in their own town.
The Mobile Lithotripsy unit
The 20 Tonne customised bus is equipped with a Dornier Lithotripter. There is also a sophisticated range of x-ray, ultrasound, and medical and computer equipment, enabling it to be used independently of the services in the hospital (apart from recovery facilities). The unit is equipped to provide all levels of anaesthesia.
The bus travels on a regular 5 week circuit throughout New Zealand. This includes three weeks in the North Island and two in the South island. The lithotripsy unit services both private and public hospitals around New Zealand.
The lithotripter we currently use is a Dornier SII, it has dual imaging (x-ray and ultrasound) capabilities. The bus sides extend out to produce a fully operational theatre environment with everything needed to perform lithotripsy and some other urological procedures.