Kidney Stone Treatment at Springfield Hospital
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.
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
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
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
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