Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL) is one of the most frequently used treatments for kidney stones. High-pressure waves are targeted from outside the body at the stone which causes it to break into fragments. Another name for shock wave lithotripsy is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL), where extracorporeal means from outside the body. Shock Wave Lithotripsy is an efficient non-surgical procedure for treating stones in the kidney or the ureter. Once the stones are broken into fragments, they are easily passed through urine.
Multiple factors are taken into consideration before implementing Shock Wave Lithotripsy. Very large stones are difficult to treat using Shock Wave Lithotripsy. The shape and size of the stone, the position where it is placed, kidneys condition and the patient's overall health, everything is taken into consideration before an Shock Wave Lithotripsy. Generally, stones which are smaller than 2cm in diameter are suitable for an Shock Wave Lithotripsy.
Patients with bleeding disorders, kidney disorders
Anesthesia is used by the doctor to help the patient remain calm and still during the procedure. It could either be general, regional or local anesthesia; hence the patient is advised not to have or any fluids 6 hours prior to the procedure. Patients can continue their regular medications, but blood-thinning medications are stopped by the doctor for around 5 days before the lithotripsy procedure. A mid-stream urine culture test is advised by the doctor to confirm the urine’s sterility before the treatment.
The patient is positioned on the operating table and a soft, water-filled cushion is stationed on the abdomen or behind the kidney which helps the high-frequency waves to be transmitted to the kidney. The patient is positioned in such a manner that the shock waves would be directed precisely at the target. Usually, the procedure takes about 45-60 minutes and around 1000-3000 shock waves to crush the stones.
At times, the physician slides a tube (Double J-stent) through the bladder and threads it up to the kidney. These tubes also called as stents that are used to keep the ureter open. It is also used when there is a high risk of infection or the patient is not able to tolerate the pain. Post-treatment the patient is generally allowed to leave after an hour. Patients are advised to consume lots of fluids and then are asked to strain their urine through a filter in order to capture the stone fragments for testing.
Shock Wave Lithotripsy cost in India varies with the type of procedure selected, the facility where the treatment takes place and the city where the patient decides to choose to get the procedure done.
Post-treatment, the patient might experience abdominal pain and will possibly have blood in the urine. Some may even experience acute pain when the stone fragments pass through urine. Sometimes, the stone present is not entirely crushed, and further treatment is needed. Patients are advised to contact the doctor for any complications post-treatment such as the urge for urination after the bladder is empty or a severe pain even after having painkillers.
Patients are advised to consume around three liters of fluids per day in order to help the passage of stone fragments. If there are not any complications associated with SWL, patients are instructed to meet the physician after one month of the treatment. A kidney, ureter and bladder X-ray is advised prior to seeing the physician as it helps him to evaluate the condition. Simple analgesics are usually required after the treatment. Only in certain cases, stronger medications are prescribed.