Living with kidney stones can be quite painful. But with newer, minimally invasive treatments, removing them doesn’t have to be.
The urologist at Evanston Regional Hospital specializes in laser and shock-wave lithotripsy – incision-free procedures that break kidney stones into tiny pieces. These technology may offer you a number of benefits compared to invasive surgery, including less pain, faster recovery and quicker return to your life.
About the Procedure
During laser lithotripsy, your urologist passes a thin, flexible instrument (ureteroscope) through the urinary tract. Once the stones are located, they are targeted and broken apart with an ultra-precise, state-of-the-art laser. The pieces are then immediately removed by your doctor using a special basket or left to wash out of the body with normal urine flow.
During extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), your urologist focuses sound waves from outside the body. The high-energy shock waves travel through the body to break up the stones into small fragments. For several weeks following treatment, those small fragments are passed out of the body in the urine.
Your doctor will help determine if you’re a good candidate and which procedure will be best, usually when other non-surgical options haven’t worked or if kidney stones are:
- Too large to pass
- Irregular in shape
- Causing bleeding or damage to surrounding tissue
Recovery & Follow-Up Care
At Evanston Regional Hospital, we usually perform the procedure on an outpatient basis under general anesthesia, allowing you to leave the hospital the same day and recover comfortably at home.
A small tube, called a stent, may be temporarily placed to help the kidney drain after the procedure. We can take out the stent quickly and easily in the office without the need for anesthesia.
Most stone fragments that are not removed pass out of the body within 24 hours, though sometimes it can take many weeks. Your doctor may also recommend preventive treatments to help reduce your risk of recurrent kidney stones.
If you experience persistent pain, signs of infection (fever, chills) or any worsening symptoms, call your doctor or seek medical attention right away.
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