Weird Medicine

Chinese Doctors Remove 420 Kidney Stones From Man With A Penchant For Tofu

Kidney Stones
Man has 420 kidney stones removed during two-hour operation. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock

Eating healthy is always recommended over unhealthy eating, but it’s important to remember everything is better in moderation. A 55-year-old man in China, whose obsession with tofu goes beyond a normal vegetarian diet, learned the hard way that consuming too many soy-based products while avoiding water is not a good idea. It took doctors at Dongyang People’s Hospital in East China two hours to remove 420 kidney stones from a very unlucky man.

 

“I have never seen so many stones before,” Dr. Wei Yubin, the chief surgeon who treated the man, told People’s Daily Online. “The operation took less than two hours, of which 45 minutes was used to remove the stones. At the end of the operation I realized my arms and legs were numb. The plate used to collect the stones had at least 420 of them of varying sizes and colored green and yellow. These didn't include the tiny rice-sized stones that were taken out using specialist suction equipment, and these numbered over 100.”

The man from China’s Zhejiang province, known only as "Mr. He," admitted to eating tofu every day and drinking very little water which doctors blamed for the abundance of kidney stones. Mr. He checked into People’s Hospital complaining about abdominal pain. However, after a very unfortunate CT scan revealed that his left kidney was packed with stones, the hospital’s surgery team prepared him for an excruciating two-hour operation. This was not Mr. He’s first run-in with kidney stones.

Around 20 years ago Mr. He had 10 stones removed via a procedure known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. This non-surgical technique for treating kidney stones uses high energy shock waves to break stones into smaller pieces around the size of sand granules. Clearly that experience didn’t scare Mr. He into adopting a healthier lifestyle. Around 90 percent of kidney stones pass through the urinary system without treatment, but some form of treatment is needed for the unlucky few.

According to Yubin, the high number of kidney stones found in Mr. He was due to the high quantity of gypsum tofu found in his diet. Gypsum tofu is a popular food in East China packed with calcium sulphate, which the body cannot flush without sufficient water intake. If Mr. He had let his kidney stones go untreated any longer, doctors say he could’ve suffered kidney failure and lost his left kidney. Yubin hopes this experience will convince Mr. He to practice healthier drinking and eating habits.   

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