Electrohydraulic lithotripsy is one of many methods to treat kidney stones or bile stones. It uses an electrohydraulic device with a flexible probe to deliver electricity that breaks apart the stones.
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Lithotripsy is used to remove kidney stones that:
This procedure can also be used to remove stones in the bile duct or the pancreatic duct.
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Complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. If you are planning to have this procedure, your doctor will review a list of possible complications. Complications may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
Before the procedure, your doctor may do the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure. These medicines may include:
General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep during the procedure. You will not feel any pain.
Your doctor will place a tiny flexible probe through your urethra and up the ureter toward the stone. The probe has two electrodes at the end. Images will help the doctor locate the stone. After the stone is located, the doctor will use the device. An electrical spark will break the stone. A special basket or forceps may be used to grab the stone fragments and remove them. The stone fragments may be allowed to pass in the urine.
Depending on the size of the stone, more than one probe may be used. A stent may be placed in the ureter. It will help protect the lining while the stone fragments pass or damage is being repaired.
There may be fragments that are too large to pass after the procedure. These can be treated again with lithotripsy.
30-60 minutes depending on the size and location of the stone
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. There may be some pain and discomfort afterward as the broken stones pass. This can be managed with medicine.
This procedure is usually done in an outpatient setting. In most cases, there will be no hospital stay.
Follow your doctor's instructions, which may include:
After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Urological Association Foundation
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Canadian Urological Association
Kidney Foundation of Canada
Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for kidney stones. EBSCO Patient Education Reference Center website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/healthLibrary/ . Updated December 30, 2011. Accessed October 19, 2012.
Gallstones. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated March 20, 2012. Accessed October 19, 2012.
Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed . Updated September 17, 2012. Accessed October 19, 2012.
Lingeman J, Matlaga B, Evan A. Surgical management of upper urinary tract calculi/electrohydraulic lithotripsy. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology . 9th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 44.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Kidney stones in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults/ . Updated June 29, 2012. Accessed October 19, 2012.
Last reviewed October 2012 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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