Shortly after Phillip Phillips was proclaimed the “American Idol” 2012 winner Wednesday night, it was learned the crooning champ would soon undergo kidney surgery.
The 21-year-old singer from Leesburg, Ga., had apparently battled severe and chronic kidney stones throughout the “American Idol” season.
Phillips called into “Live! With Kelly” Thursday morning to talk about his win and pending surgery.
The newly minted champ told Ripa he’d had only “about two and a half hours of sleep” Wednesday night as he explained that he wouldn’t be able to make his scheduled appearance next week on “Live! With Kelly”
“I’ve been sick this whole show,” Phillips told the Ripa. “I’m trying to get all my work done, to recover.”
He said a great set of doctors had tended to him throughout the “AI” experience, and told Ripa, “I’ll be having [surgery] here soon. I’m getting prepared for all that. I’m ready to feel better, feel like myself.”
Phillips’ parents told Radar Online their son has been fighting kidney stones for some time.
“He’s doing good right now, but it’s been a long hard struggle for him,” his father, Phillip Phillips Sr., told Radar Online after his son’s win Wednesday night. “I’m so proud of him. He just sucked it up and endured and he overcomes.”
Chronic kidney stones, although common, are among the most painful urologic disorders.
Kidney stones account for nearly 3 million visits to doctors and more than half a million visits to the emergency rooms each year, according to the National Institutes of Health. The stones, which are hard masses that develop from crystals that separate from dietary minerals in urine, are typically passed through the body in the urine stream.
Dr. Joseph A. Vassalotti, chief medical officer of the National Kidney Foundation, said surgery is usually only necessary when the stones are too big to pass on their own.
“In general, about 7 millimeter or larger stones will not pass into the urine spontaneously without specialized treatment,” said Vassalotti. “Immediate surgery may be required for stones complicated by infection or obstruction or blockage of the urinary drainage.”
According to gossip site TMZ, multiple sources said that the crooner had returned to Georgia two weeks ago to see his family doctor, who said the singer needed immediate surgery.
TMZ also reported that Phillips’ kidney problems became so severe midseason that physicians put in a stent to temporarily fix the difficulty. Ureteric stents are thin tubes inserted into the ureter to prevent obstruction of urine flow from the kidneys.
This condition can be “very painful,” said Dr. Lewis Teperman, director of transplantation at NYU Langone Medical Center.
“What type of procedure [he gets] depends on the size of the stones and where they are,” said Teperman. “Most individuals live a long and happy life with stones with the occasional bout of pain from passage.”