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Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy

What is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy?

Kidney stones are small, hard deposits that can develop in the kidneys. Lithotripsy, often referred to as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), is the most common procedure for the management of kidney stones (renal lithiasis). It uses shock waves to break up stones that form in the kidney, bladder or ureter, enabling easy passage of the fragments out of the body within the urine.

Indications for ESWL

Most kidney stones are small and can be passed in urine. However larger stones are unable to pass through the ureters and can cause bleeding, kidney damage or urinary tract infections and may require more invasive treatment.

Lithotripsy is indicated in people with large kidney stones causing pain, urinary tract infection, bleeding and renal damage.

Good Candidates for Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy

Patients who want to get relief from their kidney stone issues using a non-surgical solution are the best candidates for extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. During the consultation, patients must discuss any factors that might get in the way of achieving the desired results, such as pregnancy or healing from recent surgeries.

Patients must not be very overweight, have a bleeding disorder, or be allergic to anesthesia. The kidney stones being treated must not be larger than two centimeters.

Your Consultation

Patients will need to schedule a consultation at HTX Urology to discuss the details of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. This will allow them to develop a better understanding regarding the specifics of this procedure.

The consultation is also the time for patients to provide more information about their medical history, including any allergies and pre-existing conditions. This will help to avoid any unexpected complications.

Any questions or concerns that the patient might have regarding the treatment can be addressed during the consultation.

Procedure for ESWL

Your doctor usually arrives at a diagnosis of kidney stones based on your symptoms and medical history. Blood tests, urine tests and other investigations may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. Several diagnostic techniques such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT and intravenous urogram (contrast dye injected into the kidneys is detected through X-ray) may also be used to identify the location of the kidney stones.

During lithotripsy, you will lie on a water-filled cushion. High-energy sound waves that are created outside of the body travel through the body until they hit the kidney stones and break them into tiny pieces. You may feel a tapping sensation on your skin as the shockwaves enter the body.

A tube is inserted through your bladder or your back into your kidney to help drain urine from your kidneys until all the tiny fragments of stone pass out of your body. The tube may be inserted before or after the procedure. The procedure takes about 45 to 60 minutes to complete.

A happy patient!
I was having another kidney stone issue and met with Dr. Dhir early this week. He evaluated me and determined that I needed to have surgery right away. He, Linda, and his staff moved heaven and earth to get me booked that day, I was in surgery a day later and am already back home recovering from a successful procedure. Dr. Dhir and his entire staff are, simply put, superior. They truly care about each and every patient, explain everything clearly and have the expertise to get the job done. If you need a Urologist, Dr. Dhir and his team are the people to see.
– Jeff Y. –

Recovery from ESWL

You will be taken to the recovery room to be monitored for a couple hours after the procedure. Lithotripsy is usually an outpatient procedure where you are able to go home on the same day. You can usually resume regular activities within a day or two. You may experience pain when the stone fragments pass, which occurs soon after treatment and may last for 4 to 8 weeks. Oral pain medications are prescribed to relieve pain. You will be instructed to drink plenty of water to help clear the stone fragments out of your urinary system.

Risks and complications associated with ESWL

Lithotripsy is considered a relatively safe procedure, but as with any medical procedure, there may be risks involved. Some risks associated with lithotripsy include:

  • Bleeding in or around the kidney
  • Kidney infection
  • Failure to remove the stones requiring additional treatment
  • Pain if a stone fragment blocks the flow of urine
  • Kidney damage or a decrease in kidney function
  • Ulcers in your stomach or intestine

Find Out More About ESWL

If you’ve been experiencing the symptoms of kidney stones and are looking for an effective solution, consider extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy in Clear Lake, Texas. Contact HTX Urology today to set up an informative consultation and find out more.