Lithotripsy Procedure Helps Eliminate Kidney stones and Reduce Recovery Time

Each year, half a million Americans visit an emergency room due to kidney stones, according to the National Kidney Foundation. Kidney stone pain can come on quickly, with little-to-no warning before the intensity becomes overpowering for many patients. Prior to such a painful episode, most people don’t realize they have kidney stones.

Kidney stones are true to their name; the stones of varying sizes form when urine contains more sediment-like substances than the urine itself can filter out. The materials crystalize and form stones, causing pain and discomfort in the kidneys and urinary tract.

Kidney stones, which are estimated to affect approximately one in ten people, have no single cause. Several factors that do contribute to the aggravating stones include:

  • Low urine volume
  • High-sodium diets
  • Obesity
  • Bowel conditions
  • Certain medications

Kidney stone symptoms range from pain in a patient’s side, back, lower abdomen and groin, to painful urination and discolored urine. Patients who experience advanced symptoms, including those listed below, should seek the advice of a Urologist to determine if kidney stones are the culprit, and if so, to determine the best treatment option:

  • Physical pain so severe that sitting up or finding a comfortable position is difficult
  • Sickness including nausea, vomiting, fever and chills
  • Blood in urine
  • Difficulty urinating

While the pain caused by kidney stones can sometimes intensify quickly, the advanced technology at Fresno Surgical Hospital can efficiently help relieve patients’ pain with minimal downtime and side effects.

Many kidney stones do pass without treatment, however, some patients’ stones require medical intervention. Urologists at Fresno Surgical Hospital employ a nonsurgical, outpatient technique called extracorporeal shock wave Lithotripsy (Lithotripsy) to ease patients’ pain. The procedure uses between 1,000 and 2,000 high-energy shock waves during the 45-60 minute session to disintegrate the stone.

Extracorporeal means “outside the body,” so the procedure does not require an incision. Shock waves are guided through the body with an x-ray or ultrasound. Urologists often utilize a light sedative during the procedure to ensure patients remain comfortable and still. If patients are fully awake during the procedure, they will usually notice a tapping feeling as the shock waves move through their bodies and break down the stones. Oftentimes Urologists will insert a tube, or stent, into the kidney through the bladder to drain urine and reduce the risk of infection during the procedure.

The procedure is performed on an outpatient basis, and in-facility recovery usually lasts approximately an hour. After the procedure, Urologists recommend patients drink plenty of fluids, filter their urine to capture sediments for testing and take any required medication or antibiotics.

“Lithotripsy is an effective method for eliminating kidney stones, and because it is non-surgical, the patient’s recovery time is typically minimal,” says Nadeem Rahman, MD, a urologist.  “Patients truly benefit from Fresno Surgical Hospital’s commitment to providing its affiliate physicians with advanced medical technology.”

To provide the most effective and personalized treatment for each patient, Urologists consider the stone’s size, shape and location, and patients’ kidney and overall health before utilizing the procedure. While the procedure is typically effective, it works best on stones smaller than 2 centimeters. The National Kidney Foundation reports that approximately 50 percent of patients who undergo Lithotripsy are kidney stone-free within a month.

Fresno Surgical Hospital has several board-certified Urologists on its staff.

“It’s our goal to provide patients with the best care and experience possible,” says Kristine Kassahn, RN, CEO of Fresno Surgical Hospital. “We make sure our physicians have the tools and technology they need to give Central Valley patients access to advanced procedures.”

Fresno Surgical Hospital, an award-winning physician-owned hospital. Learn more about the hospital and urological procedures at www.FresnoSurgicalHospital.com.