Tried or prescribed Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy for Kidney Stones? Share your experience. Have you?
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Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a nonsurgical treatment for stones in the kidney and ureter. It uses high energy shock waves to break kidney stones into tiny pieces. The pieces can then be passed with urine.
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What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam
- X-ray of the abdomen
- Blood and urine tests
- IVP (intravenous pyelogram) —an x-ray of the urinary system taken after the injection of contrast material
- Spiral CT scan—a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
- MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
- Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
- Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)
Heavy sedation or general anesthesia is usually used. Heavy sedation will keep you calm. With general anesthesia, you will be asleep. It will help you remain still and avoid discomfort.
Description of the Procedure
You will be placed on a table attached to the lithotripsy equipment. You will lie on top of a soft cushion or membrane through which the waves pass. Your doctor will use x-rays or ultrasound to locate the stone. Your body will be positioned to target the stone. One to three thousand 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?
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 medicine.
You will be able to move almost immediately after the procedure. Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions , which may include:
- Drink plenty of water in the weeks after the procedure to help the stone pieces pass.
- You will likely be able to resume daily activities within 1-2 days.
- Take oral pain medicine as directed to help manage pain and discomfort.
American Urologic Association Foundation
National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse
National Kidney Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
The Kidney Foundation of Canada: Northern Alberta and the Territories Branch
Kidney stones in adults. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at:
. Accessed June 24, 2008.
Lithotripsy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at:
. Accessed June 24, 2008.
Surgical management of stones. American Urological Association website. Available at:
. Accessed November 10, 2009.
Campbell-Walsh Urology. 9th ed. Maryland, MO: Saunders; 2007.