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What do I need to know about lithotripsy?

Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses sound waves to break up stones in the kidney, ureter, or bladder. The stone pieces then pass out of your body through your urine.

How do I prepare for a lithotripsy?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for the procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. He will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your procedure. You may need to stop taking any medicines that thin your blood 1 week or more before your procedure. These medicines include aspirin, ibuprofen, and anticoagulants.

What will happen during lithotripsy?

You may be given medicine to keep you relaxed and free from pain during the procedure. You may instead be given general anesthesia to keep you asleep and free from pain during the procedure. X-rays or an ultrasound are used to find the kidney stone. You may lie on a cushion filled with water or sit in a bath of warm water. High-energy sound waves are aimed at your kidney stone. The sound waves break the stone into tiny pieces. You will pass these pieces after a few days when you urinate. A stent (tube) may be put into your kidney or ureter through your bladder or back. The stent helps the pieces of stone pass out of your body.

What will happen after a lithotripsy?

You may have blood in your urine for 1 to 2 days. You may also have bruising and discomfort in your back or abdomen. You may have pain whenever you pass pieces of your kidney stone. This may happen over a few weeks.

What are the risks of a lithotripsy?

You may develop bleeding around your kidney or get a kidney infection. The pieces of stone may block the flow of urine from your kidney. You may need another lithotripsy, or other procedure, if pieces of stone are left in your body. You may develop a stomach or intestine ulcer. Your kidney may not work correctly after the procedure. Your kidney may stop working completely. This can be life-threatening.

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Further information

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