Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is a procedure to break kidney stones by using shock waves. When kidney stones become too large to pass through the urinary tract, they may cause severe pain and may also block the flow of urine. An infection may develop. Using ESWL, the kidney stone is broken into granules and is released with urine. This procedure is done without causing scars, without applying anesthesia and without hospitalization.
Before the procedure, your doctor will do tests to determine the number of stones, as well as their size and location.
To get ready for the procedure, you will put on a hospital gown and lie on an exam table. You will be given medicine for pain or to help you relax before the procedure starts. High-energy shock waves, also called sound waves, guided by x-ray or ultrasound, will pass through your body until they hit the kidney stones. Once the stone fragments are small enough to pass through the urinary system, the procedure will end. In most cases, the lithotripsy procedure itself takes just 30-45 minutes. After procedure, you will be monitored for at least 1 hour to confirm you are comfortable and stable enough to go home. Usually, patients are to go home the same day.
How Do You Prepare for a ESWL ?
You will be asked to remove any clothing, jewelry, or other objects that may interfere with the procedure. You will be given a gown to wear during the procedure.
In addition to a complete medical history, your doctor may perform a complete physical examination to ensure you are in good health before undergoing the procedure. You may undergo blood tests or other diagnostic tests. Fasting before the procedure may be indicated, you will be given instructions on how many hours to fast before the procedure if necessary. Women should inform if there is any possibility that they may be pregnant.