Treatment Using ESWL

The word “lithotripsy” literally means to break (tripsy) a stone (litho). The most common form of lithotripsy is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), which Medispec offers through the spark-gap E3000  or the Electromagnetic EM1000 . This procedure sends shock waves through the body to break the stone into pieces non-invasively, completed in less than an hour.

On the day of your lithotripsy treatment, you may undergo various x-rays and other diagnostic procedures so your doctor can locate and examine your stones. In most cases you will receive a general or regional anesthetic. Your doctor will discuss your anesthesia options with you prior to the treatment. Once you have been prepped, you will be placed on a treatment table and the location of your stone will be determined with an x-ray imaging device. The lithotripter will then be positioned next to your body and a soft rubber membrane will allow focused pressure waves to pass through your back to the precise location of the stone in your kidney. This will cause the stone to break into smaller pieces that can be easily passed through the urine.

 Preparing for your Lithotripsy treatment

Your doctor will give you specific instructions about how to prepare for your treatment, but there are some general steps you should take. You should not eat or drink anything within 12 hours of your treatment. Also, do not take any products that contain aspirin for 10 days prior to treatment unless instructed by your doctor. Make sure to let your doctor know if you are on any type of medication or if you may be pregnant. You may have to undergo a pregnancy test if you are of child bearing age. You must also make arrangements to return home, as you should not drive until one day after the treatment.

What to expect

Your doctor will give you instructions once the ESWL procedure is complete. Make sure to follow the instructions carefully. It can take up to several weeks to pass all stone fragments. Do not be alarmed if your urine is cloudy or contains small amounts of blood after the procedure; these are normal side effects of an ESWL treatment. However, you should notify your doctor immediately if you experience any of the following: fever over 100o, heavy bleeding, excessive pain that does not respond to medication, vomiting, or difficulty urinating.

In most cases, a single lithotripsy treatment will break the stone so it can be passed. However, some instances require additional treatments to completely break the stones.