Electrohydraulic lithotripsy is one of many methods to treat kidney stones. It uses an electrohydraulic device with a flexible probe to deliver electricity that breaks apart the stones.
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Lithotripsy is used to remove kidney stones that:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
Your risk of complications may increase if you have bleeding disorders or are taking medications that reduce blood clotting.
Before the procedure, your doctor may do the following:
Other things to remember before the procedure:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep during the procedure.
Your doctor will place a tiny flexible probe through your urethra and up the ureter toward the stone. The probe has two electrodes at the end. Images will help locate the stone. After the stone is located, the device will be used. An electrical spark will break the stone. A special basket or forceps may be used to grab the stone fragments and remove them. The stone fragments may be allowed to pass in the urine.
Depending on the size of the stone, more than one probe may be used. A stent may be placed in the ureter. It will help protect the lining while the stone fragments pass or damage is being repaired.
There may be fragments that are too large to pass after the procedure. These can be treated again with lithotripsy.
30-60 minutes depending on the size and location of the stone
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
This procedure is usually done in an outpatient setting. In most cases, there will be no hospital stay.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Be sure to drink plenty of water in the weeks after the procedure. This will help the stone pieces to pass.
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Kidney Foundation of Canada
Cystoscopy & ureteroscopy. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diagnostic-tests/cystoscopy-ureteroscopy. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Kidney stones. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/kidney-stones. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
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Accessed January 29, 2021.
Ureteroscopy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_ureteroscopy. Accessed January 29, 2021.
Last reviewed March 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 1/29/2021