The Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) technique uses sound waves (also called shock waves) to break a kidney stone into very small pieces that can more easily travel through the urinary tract and out of the body. ESWL is usually reserved for stones that are in the kidney and not in the ureter. ESWL is not appropriate for women who are pregnant, people with a kidney or urinary tract infection, those with certain anatomic abnormalities and anyone with a bleeding disorder. ESWL is usually reserved for stones that are in the kidney and not in the ureter.
This procedure is popular because:
- Minimally invasive
- Takes only about an hour
- Can be done on an outpatient basis and requires little recovery time.( It may take a few weeks, however, for all the fragments to pass)
You will receive medication to prevent pain and help you relax or sleep during the lithotripsy procedure. Once this takes effect, the procedure will start. A stent (flexible tube with holes on each end) may be placed into your ureter. This helps keep urine flowing from the kidney. Your urologist then uses x-ray to find the exact location of the kidney stone. Shock waves are aimed at the stone and sent at high speed. If large stone particles remain after treatment, a second procedure may be necessary at a later time.