shock wave lithotripsy

Kidney Stone Treatment: Shock Wave Lithotripsy

If you have ever faced the problem of kidney stones, then you must know about all the possible treatments including the shock wave lithotripsy. Today, in this article we will discuss in detail the shock wave lithotripsy and major concerns associated with it. 

What is Shock Wave Lithotripsy?

Shock wave lithotripsy is basically the treatment for kidney stones that are becoming common in various parts of the world. It involves the interaction and targeting of shock waves from outside the body. These shockwaves directly target kidney stones and convert them into small sand-like particles.

After the stones get broken into small particles, they become easier to excrete. Sometimes this treatment is also known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave lithotripsy or ESWR. 

These words mean

extracorporeal: from outside the body

shock waves: pressure waves

lithotripsy (the Greek roots of this word are “litho” meaning stone, “tripsy” meaning crushed)

It is basically a technique or procedure in which sound waves externally enter the kidneys. They break up the stones. This technique is shock wave lithotripsy or ESWL. It basically produces very high-intensity vibrations or shock waves that directly touch the stones and cause their breakage. This is a very small procedure and takes only about up to an hour in its complete. Sometimes the person may experience moderate pain but it is overall a safe procedure. 

It is perfectly normal if the patient observes blood in the urine. This is due to the fact that the broken stone particles immediately try to pass to the urinary tract. The discomfort is due to those stone fragments. 

When can shockwave Lithotripsy be used? 

Basically, Shock Wave Lithotripsy works better with some kinds of stones while it may not be able to break some other types of stones. So if you are having particular kidney stones and facing pain in your abdominal, renal, or urinary tract, you should, first of all, reach out to the doctor and figure out what kind or type of kidney stones you are having. 

If the stones are too large or highly compact then SWL often fails to achieve the desired milestones. Moreover, it is also important to mention that sometimes shock wave Lithotripsy works more perfectly than other people, however, this treatment is not suitable for pregnant women. 

People who suffer from various diseases, respiratory problems, skeletal abnormalities, or extreme obesity are also not treated with this technique. 

However, if the patient suffers from cardiovascular problems, he may or may not be eligible for this treatment. For this purpose, he should reach out to his cardiologist first and then decide if he can have Shock Wave Lithotripsy. 

Is it urgent or suitable to treat the patient with shock wave lithotripsy?

It is important to mention that sometimes the stones do not pass on their own. The patient must needs treatment with some kind of specialized techniques. In such a situation, when the person continuously faces the infectious and painful condition the doctors immediately proceed with shock wave Lithotripsy or any other treatments such as kidney transplant. The reason is when the situation becomes unbearable the doctor does not wait and immediately proceed with treatment. 

What does such treatments involve? 

The people who plan to get treated with such techniques often become quite frightened. So it is very important to know that this treatment involves a soft water-filled question that is adjusted anywhere around your abdomen or behind your kidney. In this way, the person can easily receive the shock waves that are basically the sound waves. The number of shock waves is anywhere between 1000 to 2000 and this amount is enough to break the stones. 

The best part is that this technique does not take long and the patient will have to remain in this position for only about an hour. 

However, when the pain is too severe due to a large number of small stones, it becomes important to detect the position of stones. 

For this purpose, doctors make use of small tubes that enter the body through the bladder. These tubes or stents are important to identify the stones that cause intolerable pain among the patients. 

In most cases, the patients remain quite safe after getting a shock wave Lithotripsy. Moreover, they also get rid of severe pain and other associated problems. 

Even the patients can easily walk and move to their homes if everything goes perfectly well. However, it is very important to ensure the consumption of a lot of water. It will reduce strain on your kidneys. You can also use a filter to examine the sand in urine. In this way, you will be able to check out if the stones are actually eliminated from your body. 

If the kidney stones are the result of bacterial infection, you may need to take various antibiotics and painkillers. 

Is it vital to give patients anaesthesia?  

The answer to this question is quite affirmative. So yes even when the patient is not treated with surgical treatment, he may face pain when the stones break. 

However, the intensity of anesthetics can be reduced or increased depending on the intensity of the sound waves or shock waves that the doctors plan to introduce. Sometimes only light sedation is enough and for this purpose local and general anesthetics are used. 

In some cases, it is important to ensure that the patient is comfortable and relaxed throughout the treatment. At this stage, some specific anesthetics are used. 

Is it important to admit the patient or hospitalise him during this treatment? 

As discussed earlier, this treatment only lasts for around an hour. Thus, there is no need to hospitalize the patient. Usually, Lithotripsy is an outpatient technique that does not require detailed admittance of the patient in the hospital.

Are there any advantages or disadvantages of this treatment? 

The most important advantage of this technique is that it immediately breaks kidney stones quickly. Moreover, it does not require the patient to go through the painful process of incision and surgery. As a result, the person can enjoy immediate recovery and a short stay in the hospital. 

However, there is a negative side to this technique as well. For example, this technique may not work when the kidney stones are too large. Sometimes not all the stones are broken down and repetition of the procedure is required. 

Some people also experience our relation with blood pressure and pain after the shock wave Lithotripsy.

What can the patient expect after the treatment? 

As the recovery time is very short, the patient can readily walk it and proceed with History activities within a few days. Here it is important to notice that you do not need to take special diets. The only most important thing is to enhance the consumption of water and drink plenty of it. A large quantity of water is necessary because it immediately passes the stone fragments to the urine. The elimination of the stone fragments is a process that can last for a few weeks. In this way, the person can enjoy prolonged benefits after getting the treatment and following the instructions of the physicians and doctors. 

We have tried our best to clear all of your confusion regarding shock wave Lithotripsy and its effectiveness. If you still have questions feel free to ask them in the comments section. 

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