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Kidney Pain Cures -
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Lithotripsy is a procedure that is performed when you have gallstones, kidney stones
or stones in your bladder or urethra. It is used when medications haven't worked
to break the stones down and when it is a viable alternative to having surgery. It
is generally performed as an outpatient procedure, although in some cases an overnight
stay is required. Although there are some risks involved, when a lithotripsy works
it provides tremendous relief for a painful, potentially dangerous condition.
Lithotripsy is sometimes referred to as ESWL, which stands for Extra Corporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy. Extra Corporeal means outside of the body, which is the biggest benefit of the procedure; it is completely non-
Gall stones and kidney stones are crystalline concretions; gallstones are made from
the bile in the gall bladder, while kidney stones are composed of nutritional minerals.
When these are small they pass out of the body through the urine, but if your kidney
or gall bladder has an unusual shape, or if the stones become too big, they become
painful and often lodge in the organ itself or the urethra, blocking urine behind
them. When you go in for a lithotripsy, you prepare for the procedure by abstaining
from food and drink for several hours, arrive at the facility where the procedure
will take place and dress in a surgical gown. A pain killer and sedative will be
administered along with an antibiotic to prevent infection, and you will be set up
on a water-
The lithotripsy tech will direct the shockwaves through your body, aiming the ultrasound waves directly at the stones. You will feel a tapping sensation as the force of the pulsing ultrasound waves breaks the stones into smaller pieces, which can then more easily pass out of your body through your urine.
The process takes about an hour, and sometimes a small tube will be inserted into
your kidney to help with the draining process. Most people go home just a few hours
after the procedure.
Although lithotripsy is highly effective, it does have risks, which include not getting all of the stones and needing to repeat the procedure, ulcers in your intestines or stomach, kidney infection, and tissue damage in the areas where the waves were directed. The procedure's success often depends on the number of stones that you have, the size of the stones and where they are located. The most successful procedures are those that are done for stones that are less than 20 millimeters in size.
Recent studies have shown that patients who reported bruising and tissue damage are
more likely to have had procedures where the technologist gave fast bursts of shockwaves
interrupted by a pause in the midst of the process. The American Urological Association
released a study in 2009 stating that outcomes are much better, with better breaking
down of the stones and less painful bruising, when the shockwaves are administered
at a rate of 60 pulses per minute rather than 120 pulses per minute. Other studies
warn of specific risks with elderly patients involving new-
The cost of a lithotripsy procedure depends upon where it is being performed and how extensive your procedure's requirements are, but it is much less expensive than the cost of surgery, which involves many more medical personnel, higher administrative, surgical and anesthesia costs, and generally requires an overnight stay. Concerns about the cost of the procedure can probably be put to rest with a discussion with your insurer.
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