St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Lithotripsy

    Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy; Shock wave lithotripsy; Laser lithotripsy; Percutaneous lithotripsy; Endoscopic lithotripsy; ESWL; Renal calculi-lithotripsy

    Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney, bladder, or ureter (tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). After the procedure, the tiny pieces of stones pass out of your body in your urine.

    Description

    Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most common type of lithotripsy. "Extracorporeal" means outside the body.

    To get ready for the procedure, you will put on a hospital gown and lie on an exam table on top of a soft, water-filled cushion.

    You will be given medicine for pain or to help you relax before the procedure starts. You will also be given antibiotics

    When you have the procedure, you may be given general anesthesia for the procedure. You will be asleep and pain-free.

    High-energy shock waves, also called sound waves, will pass through your body until they hit the kidney stones. If you are awake, You may feel a tapping feeling when this starts. The waves break the stones into tiny pieces.

    The lithotripsy procedure should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.

    A tube may be placed through your bladder or back into your kidney. This tube will drain urine from your kidney until all the small pieces of stone pass out of your body. This may be done before or after your lithotripsy treatment.

    Why the Procedure Is Performed

    Lithotripsy is used to remove kidney stones that are causing:

    • Bleeding
    • Damage to your kidney
    • Pain
    • Urinary tract infections

    Not all kidney stones can be removed using lithotripsy. The stone may also be removed with:

    • A tube (endoscope) inserted into the kidney through a small surgical cut.
    • A small lighted tube inserted through the bladder into ureters. Ureters are the tubes that connect the kidneys to the bladder.
    • Open surgery (rarely needed).

    Risks

    Lithotripsy is safe most of the time. Talk to your doctor about possible complications such as:

    • Bleeding around your kidney, which may need a blood transfusion
    • Kidney infection
    • Pieces of the stone block urine flow from your kidney (this may cause severe pain or damage to your kidney)
    • Pieces of stone are left in your body (you may need more treatments)
    • Ulcers in your stomach or small intestine
    • Problems with kidney function after the procedure

    Before the Procedure

    Always tell your doctor or nurse:

    • If you are or could be pregnant
    • What drugs you are taking, even drugs, supplements, or herbs you bought without a prescription

    During the days before the surgery:

    • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), warfarin (Coumadin), and any other drugs that make it hard for your blood to clot. Ask your doctor when to stop taking them.
    • Ask your doctor which drugs you should still take on the day of the surgery.

    On the day of your procedure:

    • You may not be allowed to drink or eat anything for several hours before the procedure.
    • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
    • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

    After the Procedure

    After the procedure, you will stay in the recovery room for up to about 2 hours. Most people are able to go home the day of their procedure. You will be given a urine strainer to catch the bits of stone passed in your urine.

    Outlook (Prognosis)

    How well you do depends on the number of stones you have, their size, and where in your urinary system they are. Most of the time, lithotripsy removes all the stones.

    References

    Curhan GC. Nephrolithiasis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 128.

    Matlaga BR, Lingeman JE. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 48.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Kidney anatomy

      illustration

    • Nephrolithiasis

      illustration

    • Intravenous pyelogram (I...

      illustration

    • Lithotripsy procedure

      illustration

      • Kidney anatomy

        illustration

      • Nephrolithiasis

        illustration

      • Intravenous pyelogram (I...

        illustration

      • Lithotripsy procedure

        illustration

      A Closer Look

        Review Date: 10/2/2013

        Reviewed By: Scott Miller, MD, Urologist in private practice in Atlanta, Georgia. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


        Back  |  Top
        About Us
        Contact Us
        History
        Mission
        Locations & Directions
        Quality Reports
        Annual Reports
        Honors & Awards
        Community Health Needs
        Assessment

        Newsroom
        Services
        Brain & Spine
        Cancer
        Heart
        Maternity
        Orthopedics
        Pulmonary
        Sleep Medicine
        Urgent Care
        Women's Services
        All Services
        Patients & Visitors
        Locations & Directions
        Find a Physician
        Tour St. Luke's
        Patient & Visitor Information
        Contact Us
        Payment Options
        Financial Assistance
        Send a Card
        Mammogram Appointments
        Health Tools
        My Personal Health
        mystlukes
        Spirit of Women
        Health Information & Tools
        Clinical Trials
        Health Risk Assessments
        Employer Programs -
        Passport to Wellness

        Classes & Events
        Classes & Events
        Spirit of Women
        Donate & Volunteer
        Giving Opportunities
        Volunteer
        Physicians & Employees
        For Physicians
        Remote Access
        Medical Residency Information
        Pharmacy Residency Information
        Physician CPOE Training
        Careers
        Careers
        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
        Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile