Can you explain lithotripsy?
Lithotripsy is a medical procedure that uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney, bladder, or ureter (tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). After the procedure, the tiny pieces of stones pass out of your body in your urine.
Lithotripsy is generally a very safe and effective procedure. It helps in the alleviation of pain, urinary tract infections, and bleeding. There are some complications associated with this procedure but they are not very common. These include pieces of stone left behind which may mean more treatments will be needed, bleeding, ulcers, and infection. Most people are able to go home the day they have the procedure done.
Lithotripsy is a technique that uses ultrasound to pulverize kidney stones or renal calculi. A lithotriptor is a specially designed ultrasound generator used to break up the stones.
Advantages of this type of treatment are that no surgical incision is needed, recovery time is minimal, and the risk to the patient is vastly reduced compared to traditional surgical techniques. Cost is also reduced.
The patient is placed into a tub of water, a shock wave is delivered by the machine which crushes the kidney stones. This is called "extracorporeal shock wave" therapy.
Lithotripsy is also know as extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). Extracorporeal means outside the body. Shock waves refers to sound waves that are sent to the kidneys. "Lith" refers to stone. Kidney stones are extremely painful accumulations of crystals that solidify into stones. Shock waves in the form of sound waves are sent to the kidneys--this breaks the stones into smaller fragments, which can either be eliminated naturally or drained with a tube. See the attached link for more detail.