Lithotripsy – Kidney Stone Treatment

Lithotripsy – Kidney Stone Treatment (ESWL)

A kidney stone is a hard object that is made from chemical in the urine. Urine has various wastes dissolved in it; when there is too much waste in too little liquid, crystals begin to form. The crystals attract other elements and join to form a solid that will get larger unless it is passed out of the body with the urine. In most people, having enough liquid washes them out, or other chemicals in urine stop a stone from forming.
Some kidney stones are as small as a grain of salt while others can be as large as a pebble. A few can become the size of a golf ball. The kidney stone starts to hurt when it causes irritation or blockage.

Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most common treatment for kidney stones. SWL is a nonsurgical technique for treating stones in the kidney or ureter (the tube going from the kidney to the bladder). High energy shock waves from outside the body are targeted at the kidney stone causing the stone to fragment, making them small enough to pass in urine

You will be positioned on an operating table. A soft, water-filled cushion may be placed behind your kidney. The body is positioned so that the stone can be targeted precisely with the shock wave. The complete treatment takes approximately 45 minutes to an hour. Sometimes, surgeons insert a tube into the bladder and thread it up to the kidney just prior to shock wave lithotripsy. These tubes, called stents, are used when the ureter is blocked, when there is a risk of infection and in patients with intolerable pain or reduced kidney function.

The recovery time is usually brief. Soon after the treatment, patients can get up to walk fairly soon. Many people can fully resume daily activities within one to two days. Special diets are not required, but drinking plenty of water helps the stone fragments pass. For several weeks, you may be asked to stain your urine as you pass stone fragments.

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