Kidney stones are one of the most painful medical conditions, causing intense pain during urination and a general feeling of unease. For those with kidney stones, it’s important to understand the treatment options available to them. One such option is extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), which has been used to treat kidney stones since the 1980s. In this blog post, we’ll take an in-depth look at ESWL and how it can be used to effectively treat kidney stones.
What Is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy?
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (eswl for kidney stones) is an intra-operative procedure used to break down kidney stones into smaller particles that can then be passed through urine. The procedure utilizes high-energy sound waves (or shock waves) that are directed at the stone from outside the body, breaking it up without damaging any surrounding tissue or organs. It’s important to note that ESWL does not remove all types of kidney stones; it’s only effective for certain types of stones, including those made up of calcium oxalate or phosphate.
How Does ESWL Work?
During an ESWL procedure, the patient lies on a bed with their back against a cushion. An x-ray machine sends images of the kidney stone and its location inside the body to a computer monitor as they’re taken. The doctor then uses these images to determine where best to direct the sound waves towards the stone in order to break it apart. Once the stone is successfully broken down into smaller pieces, they are able to pass naturally through urine over time without causing any further discomfort or pain.
Risks and Benefits Associated with ESWL
Like any medical procedure, there are risks associated with ESWL for kidney stone treatment. Possible side effects include bruising and bleeding around the treated area, infection, or damage to nearby organs such as your bladder or ureter (the tube connecting your kidneys and bladder). However, when performed by experienced professionals, these risks are minimized and complications rarely occur. The great thing about ESWL is that since it’s non-invasive, patients can return home shortly after their treatment and resume their normal activities within a day or two while they wait for smaller pieces of their kidneys stone(s) pass naturally through urine over time.
In conclusion, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is an effective method for treating certain types of kidney stones without invasive surgery or other treatments such as stenting or percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PCNL). With proper care following an ESWL procedure, patients should be able to return home shortly after their session and resume normal activities within a day or two as smaller pieces of their kidney stone(s) pass naturally through urine over time without causing any further discomfort or pain.