Lithotripsy for kidney stones is a form of treatment for kidney stones which patients are unable to pass naturally. A kidney stone is a hard build-up of calcium and other chemicals found in urine that forms in one or both of the kidneys. These can be incredibly painful and cause patients huge discomfort. In some cases, the patient is able to pass the stones in their urine. However, if this is not possible then lithotripsy for kidney stones is a treatment option.
So, what is lithotripsy?
Unlike other treatments, this is a non-invasive procedure, meaning that no surgery is actually required. Patients can have lithotripsy for kidney stones as an outpatient procedure performed with simple oral analgesia rather than having to have a general anaesthetic which is needed for some other treatment options. It can be a little uncomfortable during and after the lithotripsy session, however the procedure should only take up to 45 minutes.
During the procedure shock waves, a form of sound wave, are targeted at the kidney stone, with the help of real time x-ray and/or ultrasound monitoring. When the sound waves hit the stone, it is broken down to smaller fragments/dust. Once this has been completed, the patient should be able to naturally pass the smaller stone fragments.
The recovery time after lithotripsy for kidney stones is very quick; you should be about to return to normal activities the following day. If you do experience any pain after the procedure, use the painkillers prescribed for you or if severe, speak to your doctor.
It is important to note that not every patient is suitable for lithotripsy for kidney stones, so if this is the case your urologist will discuss other treatment options with you.
This article is intended to inform and give insight but not treat, diagnose or replace the advice of a doctor. Always seek medical advice with any questions regarding a medical condition.