Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy

Kidney stone is one of the most painful and common problem among people now a days. Kidney stones are hardened mineral deposits that originate as tiny particles and develop into stones over the period of time. They can vary in size from small pebble to golf balls. Some stones may travel down the bladder while some can stay over in the kidney. Passing them can be extremely painful experience as they can block flow of urine and build a back pressure in kidney which results in starch and spasm.

New and improved methods have been invented for stone removal. This improved method can also prevent kidney stones from reoccurring. There are two predominant non-surgical methods of kidney stone removal- Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) and Laser lithotripsy.

 Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is one of the non-surgical treatment procedures for kidney stones mostly for the stone in kidney. It is a shock wave treatment that breaks the stones into smaller pieces and these small pieces pass through urine. The patient is positioned on an operating table and a soft water filled cushion is placed behind the kidney. A dish focuses a high energy shock wave on the stone and causes it to fragment. These fragments are small enough to pass in urine. Although this method is non-surgical but shock waves may cause pain hence anesthesia is given to the patient to reduce pain and discomfort. The location, composition and size of stone determine whether this treatment is suitable for the treatment. Usually this is not very effective for very large size of kidney stones. The recovery time after this treatment is brief. This method sometimes may require repeat procedures as sometimes stone fragments may remain.

Percutaneous Nephrostolithotomy (PCNL) Ureteroscopic Lithotrispy with Holmium Laser is another very effective non-surgical method of removal of kidney stones. This is mostly used for stones present in the middle and lower ureter. A small instrument called as Ureteroscope is inserted into bladder and up the ureter. The stone can either be snared using baskets inserted into working channels or 100 watt Coherent Holmium Laser is used to fragment large stones. These smaller pieces are then flushed out through natural urinary passage. For this procedure patient needs to be hospitalized for a day. This process does not require incision and body’s normal opining are used. Success rate of this treatment is higher than shock wave lithotripsy.

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