Kidney Stones 101
The Patient's Guide To Understanding Kidney Stone Disease

Causes of Kidney Stones

Preventing Kidney Stones

Symptoms of Kidney Stone

Kidney Stone Removal

Calcium Kidney Stones

Cystine Kidney Stones

Struvite Kidney Stones

Uric Acid Kidney Stones






Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is the process of using shockwaves on the outside of the body to crush a kidney stone into small sand like fragments.  This procedure is done with the patient lying a table, while the surgeon uses low level X-ray devices to locate the stone.  After the stone is reduced to fragments it can then be passed through the urine.  However in the case of larger kidney stones, it may take multiple treatments for the stone to be completely fragmented. 

Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy is the most common surgical procedure used today to treat kidney stones and is often the first form of treatment that a urologist will use if the stone is small enough.  This procedure takes about an hour and is usually done in an outpatient basis under anesthesia. 

The stent is a flexible plastic tube the keeps the ureter from becoming obstructed as the stone fragments pass out of the body.  The urologist usually wants to follow up with patients about a week after the procedure.  If the X-ray looks clear and all fragments have passed then the stent will be removed in the office.  However sometimes it make take 3 months or more for all stone fragments to pass completely in the case of larger stones.

After the procedure it is normal for ESWL patients to experience a burning sensation when passing urine as well as blood in the urine for a few days.  However, during the time that the stent is in place, some people may experience a mild backache in the kidney area where the stone was fragmented.  Increased fluid intake is especially important during this time, and may help to increase stent comfort. The urologist might also prescribe an antibiotic called cipro, which prevents any infection that might occur from the ESWL treatment.









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