Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy
DefinitionExtracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a nonsurgical treatment for kidney stones. It uses high-energy shock waves to break the stones into tiny pieces. The pieces can then be passed with urine.
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Reasons for ProcedureLithotripsy is used to remove kidney stones that:
- Are too large to pass
- Cause constant pain
- Block the flow of urine
- Cause an ongoing infection
- Damage kidney tissue
- Cause bleeding
Possible ComplicationsProblems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
- Blood in the urine
- Bruising in the back or abdomen
- Pain as the stone fragments pass
- Failure of stone fragments to pass, requiring additional surgery
- Need for additional treatments
- Reaction to anesthesia
- Bleeding disorders or taking medications that reduce blood clotting
- Skeletal deformities
What to Expect
Prior to ProcedureYour doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam
- Blood and urine tests
- Imaging studies to help locate the stones
AnesthesiaHeavy sedation or general anesthesia is usually used. Heavy sedation will keep you calm. With general anesthesia, you will be asleep through the procedure.
Description of the ProcedureYou will be placed on a soft cushion on top of a table. Shock waves can be passed to the stones through this cushion. X-rays or ultrasound will be used to locate the stone. Your body will be positioned to target the stone. Shock waves will be passed through the stones until they are crushed. They will be crushed into pieces as small as grains of sand.
How Long Will It Take?45-60 minutes
How Much Will It Hurt?Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. There may be some pain and discomfort afterward from the passage of broken stones. There may also be some bruising on the area treated. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medication.
Postoperative CareYou will be able to move almost immediately after the procedure. Drink plenty of water in the weeks after the procedure to help the stone pieces pass.