Lithotripsy, sometimes referred to as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL), is a relatively non-invasive treatment for kidney stones. If you're experiencing the severe pain of kidney stones, you need quick relief on your schedule.
"... our lithotripter is the best-kept secret in the Quad Cities."
"The lithotripter is available at our Spring Park Surgery Center on a minute-to-minute basis," says urologist William Mobley, M.D. "Other institutions have lithotripsy available, but the machine comes on a truck every couple of weeks or so. Patients who go elsewhere and await these mobile units are given temporary comfort measures while they wait for treatment to arrive. We feel our lithotripter is the best-kept secret in the Quad Cities."
How Lithotripsy Works
If a kidney stone won't pass naturally and can't be dissolved with medication, Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (lithotripsy for short) is a relatively non-invasive technique for treating stones in the kidney and ureter. High-energy shock waves are passed through the body and used to break stones into sand-like particles. Because of their small size, these pieces can pass from the body along with the urine, with less pain.
The lithotripsy procedure takes about an hour. The sedated patient lies down on the bed of the apparatus, with the back supported by a water-filled coupling device placed at the level of the kidneys. The urologist locates the kidney stone using computerized x-ray equipment, and then focuses the shock waves precisely on the stone. The successive shock wave pressure passes through the body's tissues and shatters only the stone.
How to Prepare for Lithotripsy
You will receive anesthesia prior to lithotripsy. If your procedure is scheduled in advance, you should not eat or drink anything, including water, after midnight before the lithotripsy treatment. If you have been instructed to take medication, use only a sip of water.
Recovery after Lithotripsy
Nurses will monitor you during a brief recovery time of one to three hours. You may receive pain medication at that time. It may take several days for the stone particles to pass out of the urinary tract, and you also may have blood in your urine for a few days. Specific follow-up instructions will be given to you before you leave the center.