Lithotripsy is a medical term used for the treatment of kidney stones and stones in the gallbladder and the liver. Doctors advise this treatment when they detect large formation of kidney stones in the organs. Since these large stones cannot pass through the urine, the possibility of kidney damage arises. In such a situation, the patient may experience severe pain and bleeding, which will aggravate further during urination. It may also cause infection in the urinary system. When patients start experiencing these types of problems, that is when the doctors recommend lithotripsy.
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Kidney stones in the organs are of different shape and size. Small-sized stones are easily thrown out of the body during urination. However, larger solid masses do not exit the body easily. The only way to get rid of those stones is through crushing them into smaller pieces with the use of sound waves. These are no ordinary sound waves, but high-energy shock waves that are generated by a machine called lithotripter. Since the shock waves are generated externally, the treatment is also called “Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL).”
The patient is given some medication before the operation to prevent infection. In some cases, anesthesia is also administered to reduce pain and discomfort. When the treatment starts, the waves are directed to that part of the body, where the stones are formed, to break the stones. A tube is inserted through the bladder, which facilitates draining of urine from the kidney. And so even the smallest stones get eliminated through it. Overall, the entire procedure lasts for about 45 minutes to an hour. There are chances that the patient may need more than one session to treat the kidney stones completely.
Post operation, patients should take following care: drink lots of water and liquids to maintain healthy functioning of the kidneys, take complete rest, and prescribed medicine.
It is essential to contact the doctor when the patient experiences symptoms of fever, difficulty in breathing, chest pain, blood in urine and extreme back pain.