A non-surgical method of treating kidney or ureter (the tube connecting the kidney to the bladder) stones using high-intensity shock waves is described by Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL). Stones are reduced to “stone dust,” or tiny enough pieces to flow through the urine. If significant parts are still present, another procedure might be used.
Lithotripsy In Detail
Some stones respond to SWL better than others. This method cannot be used for huge stones. The choice to use it will depend on the size and form of the stone, where it is located in your urinary system, your health, and the condition of your kidneys. The ideal size for SWL is a stone with a diameter of less than 2 cm. In huge ones, the therapy might not be successful.
Some people respond better to SWL than others. Pregnant women with stones are not treated this way since SWL requires X-rays and shock waves. People who have significant bone deformities, infections, bleeding issues, or are morbidly obese are often not suitable candidates for SWL.
The fundamental benefit of this procedure is that kidney stones are removed without the need for an incision. Hospital stays and recuperation times are thus shortened.
While SWL can be effective, it isn’t always. Within a month of receiving SWL, around 50% of people will be stone-free. Others still include stone shards of varied sizes. It may occasionally be necessary to repeat (or use a different) procedure.
You will be positioned on an operating table. On your abdomen or behind your kidney, a supple, water-filled cushion can be implanted. The body is positioned such that the shock wave will precisely strike the stone. In an older method, the patient is positioned in a hot bathtub. 1–2000 shock waves are needed to break the stones. Between 45 and 60 minutes are needed for the complete process.
If everything goes according to plan, you will frequently be allowed to depart following the procedure and remain for around an hour. In addition to drinking lots of water and filtering your urine to remove any stone pieces for testing, you may also need to take antibiotics and painkillers.
SWL can harm renal tissue. It is still debatable whether SWL causes or contributes to the emergence of diabetes and high blood pressure. These options are still being researched. The dangers and advantages of SWL in your circumstances should be discussed with your doctor.
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The healing period is often relatively quick. After treatment, the patient can nearly immediately stand up and walk. Many people can resume their regular activities one to two days later. There is no need for special diets; however, drinking lots of water facilitates the passage of the stone pieces. You can encounter stone particles for a few weeks.
Your abdomen may hurt or ache for many days after therapy, and you may have blood in your urine. Some people suffer a sharp cramping sensation when the broken pieces of stone exit the body. The symptoms can be reduced with oral painkillers and lots of water.
There may be occasions when the stone is not totally broken up or when large fragments still require treatment. Rarely, more significant issues include injury to the region around the stone, bleeding around the kidney that may necessitate a blood transfusion, or stone fragments obstructing the urine flow.
When To Call A Doctor?
Call your doctor if you experience severe discomfort after emptying your bladder or if you strongly need to urinate. Call your doctor immediately if you experience a strong need to urinate even after emptying your bladder or if you experience severe discomfort despite taking painkillers.