Lithotripsy is a treatment that can sometimes help eliminate kidney stones and the pain that they cause. A form of lithotripsy, also known as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, is a nonsurgical procedure that crushes a kidney stone with shock waves. These shock waves pass through your body and focus on the kidney stone. They cause the kidney stone to break up while it is still in the urinary tract, making it easier for the smaller pieces of stone to pass in the urine.
Tell a health care provider about:
- Any allergies you have.
- All medicines you are taking, including vitamins, herbs, eye drops, creams, and over-the-counter medicines.
- Any blood disorders you have.
- Any surgeries you have had.
- Any medical conditions you have.
- Whether you are pregnant or may be pregnant.
- Any problems you or family members have had with anesthetic medicines.
- Bleeding of the kidney.
- Bruising of the kidney or skin.
- Scarring of the kidney, which can lead to:
- Increased blood pressure.
- Poor kidney function.
- Return (recurrence) of kidney stones.
- Damage to other structures or organs, such as the liver, colon, spleen, or pancreas.
- Blockage (obstruction) of the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder (ureter).
- Failure of the kidney stone to break into fragments.
- Follow instructions from your health care provider about eating and drinking, which may include:
- 8 hours before the procedure – stop eating heavy meals or foods such as meat, fried foods, or fatty foods.
- 6 hours before the procedure – stop eating light meals or foods, such as toast or cereal.
- 6 hours before the procedure – stop drinking milk or drinks that contain milk.
- 2 hours before the procedure – stop drinking clear liquids.
- Up to 2 hours before the procedure – you may continue to drink clear liquids, such as water, clear fruit juice, black coffee, and plain tea.
- Plan to have someone take you home from the hospital or clinic.
- Ask your health care provider about:
- Changing or stopping your regular medicines. This is especially important if you are taking diabetes medicines or blood thinners.
- Taking medicines such as aspirin and ibuprofen. These medicines and other NSAIDs can thin your blood. Do not take these medicines for 7 days before your procedure unless directed by your health care provider.
- You may have tests, such as:
- Blood tests.
- Urine tests.
- Imaging tests, such as a CT scan.
What Happens During The Procedure?
- An IV tube will be inserted into one of your veins. This tube will give you fluids and medicines.
- You will be given one or more of the following:
- A medicine to help you relax (sedative).
- A medicine to make you fall asleep (general anesthetic).
- A water-filled cushion may be placed behind your kidney or on your abdomen. In some cases you may be placed in a tub of lukewarm water.
- Your body will be positioned in a way that makes it easy to target the kidney stone.
- A flexible tube with holes in it (stent) may be placed in the ureter. This will help keep urine flowing from the kidney if the fragments of the stone have been blocking the ureter.
- An X-ray or ultrasound exam will be done to locate your stone.
- Shock waves will be aimed at the stone. If you are awake, you may feel a tapping sensation as the shock waves pass through your body.
Post Procedure Care
- You may have an X-ray to see whether the procedure was able to break up the kidney stone and how much of the stone has passed. If large stone fragments remain after treatment, you may need to have a second procedure at a later time.
- Your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and blood oxygen level will be monitored until the medicines you were given have worn off.
- You may be given antibiotics or pain medicine as needed.
- If a stent was placed in your ureter during surgery, it may stay in place for a few weeks.
- You may need to strain your urine to collect pieces of the kidney stone for testing.
- You will need to drink plenty of water.
- Do not drive for 24 hours if you were given a sedative.
This information is not intended to replace advice given to you by your health care provider.