Our Houston area urologists treat a variety of conditions and illnesses

Shock Wave Lithotripsy

Shock wave lithotripsy for kidney stone treatment

 When patients are suffering from the pain of kidney stones, they want the best, most effective kidney stone treatment available. Our Houston urologists perform shock wave lithotripsy for some patients who have stones.  

 During this non-invasive procedure, our urologists target high-energy shock waves outside the body at the kidney stones, causing them to break into tiny fragments. Once the stone or stones are in small pieces, patients can usually pass them out of their urinary tract with less pain. 

Which patients should have shock wave lithotripsy? 

 Not all kidney stones need treatment or surgery, but there are occasions when they do. Before deciding on a treatment, our highly trained urologists evaluate each patient’s medical condition, the size of their stone and its location, and other factors. Here are some of the situations in which our physicians may recommend lithotripsy.  

  • A smaller kidney stone located in the upper part of the urine tube or ureter, or inside the kidney 
  • A stone that is extremely painful 
  • One that is blocking the flow of urine 
  • A stone that is larger than 5 millimeters in diameter and may be too large to pass without treatment 

Which patients should not get this treatment? 

 Shock wave lithotripsy isn’t right for every patient. These are some reasons that our Houston urologists might not recommend this treatment for certain patients. 

  • Pregnancy 
  • Patients who have infections, bleeding disorders or skeletal abnormalities 
  • Morbid obesity 
  • Patients with an infected kidney stone 
  • Patients with hard stones that could be hard to break up with shock waves 
  • Stones that are larger than 1 to 2 centimeters in diameter 

 What should patients expect when they have this kidney stone treatment?

 Even though this is a non-invasive procedure, patients need some lab work. Patients typically receive some type of anesthesia for pain relief, and sometimes, medication to make them drowsy during the procedure.  

 During shock wave lithotripsy, patients lie down on a water-filled pad, while the urologists locate the kidney stone using imaging. Once it’s located, the team aligns the patient’s body with the high-energy beams, so the shock waves can reach the kidney stone. The entire procedure takes about an hour.  

 A lithotripsy is an outpatient event, but patients still spend a few hours in recovery after the procedure. After patients go home, they should pass the fragments of the stone in their urine for the next several days – or even weeks. Most patients take over-the-counter medication to help with the pain that can occur even when passing small pieces of stones. 

Our Houston urologists expertly diagnose, manage and treat kidney stones 

 Patients who have kidney stones need compassionate care. Our entire team is dedicated to helping patients get the most appropriate and effective kidney stone treatment. Contact us for an appointment.