Answers to Commonly Asked Questions about Lithotripsy :::::::

What is a Kidney Stone? Causes And Types Of Stones What Are The Symptoms Of Kidney Stones? How Are Kidney Stones Diagnosed? What Are The Treatment Options For Kidney Stones? How Can Kidney Stones Be Prevented? Types of Stones Treating Kidney Stones with the Lithotripsy Technology How the Lithotripter
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Q) How many people a year have kidney stones?
A) Kidney Stones affect 10% of the U.S. population. Kidney Stones account for a third of the common afflictions of the urinary tract.

Q) Who gets more kidney stones, men or women?
A) Men have a slightly higher frequency of kidney stones (1.3:1) than women, with the exception of struvite or infection stones, which are higher in women. The rate in women is increasing, likely due to higher rates of obesity.

Q) Do kidney stones tend to form more in mid-life than in one's 20's? If so, why?
A) The peak incidence of kidney stones is in the 2nd - 4th decade. After age 50, men have a 6% incidence and females have a 25% incidence. The reasons are (1) the young person concentrates the urine more than the older person, (2) hereditary disorders, (3) metabolic disorders (4) deficiency of inhibitors of cyrsal nucleation, growth and aggregation in the urine.

Q) Why do kidney stone forms?
A) Most kidney stones form when a chemical imbalance in the urine allows minerals and other substances to become concentrated enough to form crystals. The crystals build up on the inner surface of the kidney and form hard masses that have come to be known as kidney stones.

Q) How large are kidney stones?
A) Kidney stones can be smaller than grains of sand or as big as golf balls. They can be smooth or have jagged edges or spiky projections.

Q) How are kidney stones treated?
A) Small kidney stones that are moving through the urinary tract usually pass out of the body on their own and mya take up to 6 weeks time to do so. Larger stones that are lodged in the kidney or ureter may need to be treated using extracorporeal lithotripsy, or surgically removed.

Q) How long will I be at the hospital and how long is extracorporeal lithotripsy (ESWL) treatment?
A) Plan on a six to seven hour stay from the time you arrive at preadmission. The actual treatment will take around 40-90 minutes. The extra time is for you to be admitted, evaluated by the anesthesiologist and other physicians, and to recover.

Q) What do I wear?
A) Wear comfortable loose fitting clothing.

Q) How will I feel after the procedure and when can I go back to work?
A) People usually have soreness in the back or flank area after treatment, this should disappear after several days. It may take anywhere from 24 hours to seven days to feel "back to normal". Most patients recover within 48-72 hours and can return to work.

Q) Will I feel any pain, during the treatment?
A) Anesthesia will be administered prior to your treatment to enable you to lie still so your stone can be localized and treated. Remaining motionless is important in making your treatment much more effective. You will be "pain free" during the treatment itself. However following the procedure you may experience pain at the site of treatment and may be given a prescriptio for pain medication. You should not drive while taking narcotic pain medication.

Q) Will I remember anything about the procedure or know what is going on during the treatment?
A) Depending on the anesthesia used, you may not remember your treatment.

Q) What is the purpose of the ESWL (Extracoporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy), and is it safe?
A) The purpose is to safely fragment your kidney or ureteral stones so the stone fragments can be passed naturally in your urine. The treatment is safe and complications of treatment are rare.

Q) What happens after the treatment?
A) You will be sent to outpatient recovery for observation. When you have met the discharge criteria, you may go home. Please remember you will not be able to drive yourself home or take a taxi; you must have a friend or relative available to take you home.

Q) What happens to the stone after the treatment?
A) Stone fragments usually begin to pass within 24 hours of treatment, however delayed passage is not unusual. You will be sent home with a strainer and asked to strain your urine for seven to ten days to collect these fragments. You will be instructed to bring the fragments with you in a specimen cup to your follow up office appointment. The urinary strainer and cup should be provided to you in the recovery area prior to discharge. The stones will be analyzed so your doctor will know the make-up of your stone. This information may to plan a treatment program to prevent any new stones from forming.

Q) If I have any questions about my ESWL treatment who can I call?
A) We at Midwest Stone Institute would be happy to answer any of your questions (314) 835-1549. You can also contact your urologist's office.


This Web site is intended for information only and is not a substitute for medical care or treatment by a qualified professional.
Any person who has or might have a health problem should consult their physician.

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