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Lithotripsy

Lithotripsy, sometimes called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), is the process by which kidney stones are broken up using ultrasound waves. Lithotripsy is a noninvasive treatment that requires no incision.

During lithotripsy, a machine called a lithotriptor sends shock waves through the body directly toward the patient’s kidney stone. The waves pass through the skin and muscles of the back, and the force of the repeated shock waves ultimately shatters the stone. The small, granular pieces, then easily pass through the body in urine. Without surgery, complications, hospital stays, costs and recovery time are reduced.

Patients at Mather Hospital who undergo this treatment are cared for by a team that includes their urologist, board-certified anesthesiologist and a certified lithotripsy specialist. While it takes about 1,000 – 2,000 ultrasound waves to break up most  stones, the entire procedure is usually completed in about 45 minutes, with a short period following the procedure for rest and recovery. 

The patient can move about almost immediately following the procedure. They do not need to stay overnight and can usually resume normal activities within a day or two. Drinking plenty of water helps the stone fragments pass from the body.

For more information on the program call (631) 476-2888.