Kidney Stone Disease Treatment

Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL)


ESWL is the least invasive surgical procedure to treat kidney stones.  In this procedure, shock waves are passed through the body until they reach the stone. The stone is then fragmented into pieces that the body flushes out.  This works best on stones that are in the kidney or upper ureter.  Large stones, multiple stones, or hard stones may require more than one more treatment.

ESWL can be performed in our Lake Barrington facility as an outpatient procedure.  It typically takes about 45 minutes and is done under intravenous anesthesia.  Your urologist focuses the shockwaves on the kidney stone using periodic X-rays taken during the procedure.  Blood in the urine is common and self-limited.  Severe bleeding around the kidney happens only very rarely.  It is common to have some discomfort from the procedure and later, as the tiny stone fragments are flushed out of the body.  In some cases a temporary ureteral stent is placed.  Severe pain is unusual.  Rarely, the stone fragments can be too numerous or too large for the kidney to flush out, requiring additional procedures to remove or fragment them.  There is a theoretical risk of inducing high blood pressure from the procedure though evidence on this is inconclusive.

Ureteroscopic Stone Extraction

Ureteroscopy is when a small telescope is placed into the urethra, bladder and then up the ureter and kidney. This allows the urologist to treat a stone, stricture or tumor or investigate blood in the urine or abnormal findings on imaging.  This is a common method to treat some ureteral stones.  The stone can be grasped with a basket-device and removed in its entirety.  This works best for small stones that are distally located (in the portion of the ureter closest to the bladder). Larger stones or stones that are higher up require treatment with a laser or may be amenable to ESWL.

Ureteroscopic stone extraction can conveniently be performed in select cases at our Lake Barrington facility.

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