Treatment for gout to remove tophi and other uric acid crystal deposits.
When uric acid crystals form in the body, they usually lead to gout. Though gout treatment varies in quality, the most proficient doctors realize that uric acid needs to be controlled to stop gout returning. Elsewhere in this treatment section, I look at standard uric acid lowering methods and the pain control that is required until these methods become effective. That is the best way to stop gout – control uric acid before it can cause too much damage.
Unfortunately, many gout sufferers do not get the treatment they need early enough. Left untreated, uric acid crystals form deposits in the body called tophi. These are dangerous, and so you must prevent them or remove them. Ignoring them is not an option. My tophi pages explain the death and destruction that awaits anyone who ignores tophi. Here, I explain treatment for gout to remove uric acid crystal deposits, including tophi.
Though tophi are usually seen as lumps beneath the skin, uric acid deposits can form throughout the body. They are particularly painful if they form in the kidney, bladder or urinary tract. Sometimes uric acid crystals are called stones (e.g. kidney stones). Other times they are called tophi.
Whatever you call uric acid crystal deposits, they cannot be ignored. As gout continues untreated, the deposits grow larger and harder. They can damage joints and soft tissues as they grow. In these cases, or where joint mobility is impaired, or skin tissue is at risk of infection, then immediate treatment for gout is required.
Treatment For Gout To Remove Tophi
Where there is no time to wait for uric acid lowering drugs to take full effect, we must use other, often more drastic, treatments for gout to remove urate deposits.
These treatments (often used in combination) include:
- Forced hydration
- lithotripsy (shockwaves/laser to shatter stones)
Surgery to remove tophi is the most common form of treatment for gout. You can see more details in the tophi guidelines. If you seek treatment before tophi become too hard, surgery might be limited to a lancing procedure. Some family doctors and podiatrists provide this procedure.
You will see from the lowering uric acid pages (especially Lower Uric Acid Gives Faster Gout Cure), that getting uric acid very low will also cause rapid tophi shrinking.
Treatment For Gout: Next Steps
Now that you have seen ways to remove uric acid deposits, you need to remember that, until most crystals have dissolved, you are at risk of acute gout flares. You can manage this by taking pain relief as required, or daily for a few months as a preventative (prophylactic) measure.
I describe medical and alternative forms of gout pain relief in other parts of this Gout Treatments Section.
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