Most people who have lithotripsy for kidney stones are free of stones within 3 months of treatment. Those with stones in the kidney and upper ureter have the most success with treatment. There may be fragments that are too large to pass after the procedure. They can be treated with lithotripsy again.
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
Blood in the urine
Bruising in the back or abdomen
Pain as the stone fragments pass
Failure of stone fragments to pass, requiring additional surgery
Need for additional treatments
Reaction to anesthesia
Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Bleeding disorders or taking medications that reduce blood clotting
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.
Heavy sedation or
is usually used. Heavy sedation will keep you calm. With general anesthesia, you will be asleep through the procedure.
Description of the Procedure
You will be placed on a soft cushion on top of a table. Shock waves can be passed to the stones through this cushion.
will be used
to locate the stone. Your body will be positioned to target the stone. Shock waves will be passed through the stones until they are crushed. They will be crushed into pieces as small as grains of sand.
How Long Will It Take?
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. There may be some pain and discomfort afterward from the passage of broken stones. There may also be some bruising on the area treated. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medication.
You will be able to move almost immediately after the procedure. Drink plenty of water in the weeks after the procedure to help the stone pieces pass.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Extreme urge or inability to urinate
Excessive blood in your urine
Signs of infection, including fever and chills
Persistent nausea or vomiting
Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
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 March 8, 2018.
Lithotripsy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: https://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/lithotripsy. Accessed March 8, 2018.
EBSCO Information Services is fully accredited by URAC. URAC is an independent, nonprofit health care accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality through accreditation, certification and commendation.
This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.
To send comments or feedback to our Editorial Team regarding the content please email us at email@example.com. Our Health Library Support team will respond to your email request within 2 business days.