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Kidney Stone Treatment at Springfield

Springfield Hospital is one of the leading private hospitals in Essex which provides specialist kidney stone treatment. Our specialists are very experienced and highly qualified, meaning that your treatment is in capable hands. To help you to be completely informed about the procedure, we have provided information below. If you would like to find out more, make an enquiry, or book an appointment, please contact our friendly team on 01245 234110, or alternatively use our quick and easy online enquiry form.

What is Lithotripsy?

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is a treatment used in the management of kidney or ureteric stones. The Lithotripsy machine generates a shock wave using sound energy, which is directed at your kidney stone, similar to how a magnifying glass can focus the sun’s rays to a point. By focusing the sound energy in this manner a shock wave can be produced at a point on the stone with enough power to shatter and fragment the stone.

The Treatment

When your specialist decides that Lithotripsy is the best option, an appointment will be made for you and we will let you know either by phone or post when we would like you to come in.

When you arrive at the unit, you may will be asked to change into a hospital gown and will be given a mild painkiller in the form of a small suppository. Please remind the staff if you have any allergies (foods or drugs).

The treatment should last around 45 minutes. As the shock wave energy is produced, you will hear a number of loud clicks. This is perfectly normal. Depending on how you feel, the treatment starts at a low power initially and it is then gradually increased.

After the treatment has finished, most patients are fine to go home. We do recommend bringing somebody with you, however, especially if you will be driving.

How many treatments will I need?

The number of treatments depends on the size and site of the stone being treated. This will be discussed with you at the consultation and an X-ray will usually be taken prior to each subsequent treatment to decide how the fragmentation of the stone(s) is progressing.

Can everyone have lithotripsy?

Patients taking Warfarin should not have lithotripsy as they have an increased risk of bleeding after treatment. Therefore it is very important that you let your specialist know if you are taking Warfarin.

Some stones are not always treatable due to their position within the kidney or urinary tract. This will be discussed with you by your specialist prior to any treatment. If you have a cardiac pacemaker, you will need to be evaluated by your cardiologist before lithotripsy can be given. This is because the shock wave generator may interfere with the function of your pacemaker. If you are morbidly obese (over 120 kg), lithotripsy is not advised due to low success rates and safety issues involving weight restrictions of the lithotripter.

Other patients not suitable for lithotripsy include pregnant women, patients with severe bleeding disorders and patients with a known abdominal aortic aneurysm.

Are there any complications from lithotripsy?

When a stone is fragmented by lithotripsy, the fragments usually pass down the ureter into the bladder and then can be passed out in the urine. If the fragments are too large, they can get stuck in the ureter and cause the symptoms of renal colic.

Occasionally, patients have a J-J Stent inserted prior to lithotripsy to prevent any blockages like this. Occasionally stones can harbour infection and lithotripsy can release organisms into the urinary tract causing urinary or blood infections. If there is any risk of this, the patient is usually given a high dose of strong antibiotics prior to the treatment and these are continued for a time afterwards. This will be discussed with you at the time of treatment. If you feel unwell or develop a fever after a treatment, you should contact the urology department or your GP for urgent advice.

Can all stones be treated with lithotripsy?

If you develop a temperature or symptoms of cystitis, you may have a urinary tract infection requiring a course of antibiotics. If this occurs, you should contact either the urology department on

01245 234158 or your GP for advice.

What will I need to do after my treatment?

Your progress will be monitored throughout the lithotripsy treatment to see if the stone(s) has been successfully removed. If a stone fragment is passed, this can be sent off for analysis and will give useful information on how to advise you on dietary changes etc. that may prevent you forming further stones in the future.