Have you ever heard of the Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) procedure? It might sound like a mouthful, but it’s actually a common medical procedure used to treat kidney stones. If you or a loved one is facing the prospect of an ESWL procedure, you might be wondering what it entails and what the recovery process looks like.
What is ESWL?
ESWL is a medical procedure that uses energy waves to disintegrate kidney stones into smaller pieces that can be passed more easily through the urinary tract. The procedure is non-invasive, which means that it doesn’t require any incisions or cuts. Instead, doctors use a machine called a lithotripter to send shock waves through the body to the location of the kidney stone.
What Happens During the Procedure?
Before the ESWL procedure, you will be given a general anesthesia to keep you asleep and pain-free during the procedure.
- Once you’re asleep, the doctor will use an ultrasound or x-ray to locate the kidney stone.
- They will then position the lithotripter machine near your body and send shock waves through your skin and tissue to the location of the stone.
- The shock waves will continue until the stone is broken up into small enough pieces to be passed through the urinary tract.
- The entire procedure usually takes between 30 minutes to an hour, depending on the size and location of the kidney stone.
What is the Recovery Process Like?
After the procedure, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for a few hours. You may experience some pain or discomfort in your lower back or abdomen, but this should subside within a few days. You may also notice blood in your urine or experience some pain or discomfort during urination.