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What is Lithotripsy?

LITHO = Stone , TRIP = To Break. Breaking a stone is called Lithotripsy. ESWL ( Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy) is breaking the stones inside the patient’s body by Shock Waves.

It is a Non Invasive procedure. Shock waves are produced by a sophisticated machine called Lithotripter by passing a high voltage electrical discharge through a spark gap underwater. The shock waves thus produced are focused on the stone inside the patient’s body, which is localized with the help of a machine called C-Arm Image Intensifier.

The shock waves produce a compressive force and the brittle stones start to crumble into small sand-like particles that are passed out in the urine. Kidney, Ureter or bladder stones can all be treated thus.

Q) How long does the treatment take?

A) The actual treatment takes around 45 to 60 minutes.

Q) How much time do I have to stay at the Hospital and when can I go back to work?

A) Most patients are discharged after 2 hours and can return to work after that. It is an outdoor procedure and No admission is required. No prolonged rest is required. Rather we encourage plenty of oral liquids to speed up the passage of crushed stones.

Q) Is there any pain during the treatment?

A) Some sensitive patients have to be administered Analgesic Injections prior to treatment, but most patients do not require any analgesia or sedation. The treatment itself causes very little pain. No anesthesia is generally required during Lithotripsy with most modern Machines.

Some older Lithotripters do cause pain and patients have to be anaesthetized prior to treatment. Minimal movement on the patient’s part is important as this makes the treatment much more effective by keeping the stone always in focus.

Q) Does the patient remember anything about the procedure or know what is going on during the treatment?

A) The patient is fully conscious and is able to see and hear everything during the treatment.

Q) What is the purpose of ESWL (Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy), and is it safe?

A) The purpose is to safely fragment kidney stones so the stone fragments can be passed naturally in the urine. The treatment is safe and complications of treatment are rare.

Q) What happens after the treatment?

A) The patient is discharged and allowed to resume his normal activities within 2 hours.

Q) Can Large and Staghorn Stones be treated this way?

A)Lithotripsy is the ideal treatment for stones up to 2 Cms diameter but larger stones can also be treated, specially in Patients unfit for Surgery or Anaesthesia, Patient having Cardiac problems or Diabetic Patients.

In Larger stones, a ‘Pigtail’ Stent or a ‘Double J’ Stent has to be passed through the Urethra to the Kidney to facilitate the passage of stone fragments. After the stone is passed out, the stent is removed.

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