Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is the use of high energy shock waves through the skin to break kidney stones into tiny pieces. The pieces can then be passed with urine.
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Reasons for Procedure
Lithotripsy is used to remove kidney stones that:
- Are too large to pass
- Cause constant pain
- Block the flow of urine (pee)
- Cause an ongoing infection
- Damage kidney tissue
- Cause bleeding
Problems are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will go over some problems that could happen, such as:
- Blood in the urine
- Bruising in the back or abdomen
- Pain as the stone fragments pass
- Failure of stone fragments to pass, requiring additional surgery
- Need for additional treatments
- Reaction to anesthesia
Things that may raise the risk of problems are:
- Bleeding disorders or taking medicines that reduce blood clotting
- Chronic health problems, such as obesity
- Skeletal deformities
What to Expect
Problems to Look Out For
Call the doctor if you are not getting better or you have:
- An extreme urge or inability to pass urine
- Excessive blood in urine
- Signs of infection, such as fever and chills
- Nausea and vomiting that is severe or that lasts a long time
- Pain that you cannot control with medicine
- New or worsening symptoms
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
- Kidney stones. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones.
- Lithotripsy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/lithotripsy.
- Nephrolithiasis in adults. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/nephrolithiasis-in-adults-24.
- Mark S. Itzkowitz, MD, JD
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