Electrohydraulic lithotripsy is one of many methods to treat
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: Are too large to passCause constant painBlock the flow of urineCause an ongoing infectionDamage surrounding tissueCause bleeding
This procedure can also be used to remove stones in the bile duct or the pancreatic duct.
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Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like: Damage or irritation to tissue or surrounding structuresBlood in the urineInfectionPain as the stone fragments passFailure of stone fragments to pass, requiring additional surgeryNeed for more treatmentsReaction to anesthesia
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
SmokingDrinkingChronic disease, such as diabetes or obesity
Your risk of complications may increase if you have bleeding disorders or are taking medications that reduce blood clotting.
Before the procedure, your doctor may do the following: Physical exam and medical historyBlood and urine testsImaging studies to find the location of the stone
Other things to remember before the procedure: Arrange for a ride home from the care center.If instructed by your doctor, do not eat or drink for eight hours before the procedure.
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
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. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
This procedure is usually done in an outpatient setting. In most cases, there will be no hospital stay.
You will be monitored as you recover from anesthesia.Pain medication will be given.You may be asked to get up and walk around before leaving the care center.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as: Washing their handsWearing gloves or masksKeeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as: Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the sameReminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masksNot allowing others to touch your incisions
To help with your recovery at home: Drink plenty of water in the weeks after the procedure. This will help the stone pieces to pass.Resume daily activities within 1-2 days.Take medications as directed to manage any discomfort.
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor: Inability to urinateExcess blood in your urineSigns of infection, including fever and chillsNausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you've been givenPain that you cannot control with the medications you've been givenCough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at:
http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/cystoscopy. Updated March 28, 2012. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Gallstones. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated April 10, 2013. Accessed May 22, 2013.
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 January 28, 2013. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at:
http://www.ebscohost.com/dynamed. Updated May 17, 2013. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Ureteroscopy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at:
http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones_Ureteroscopy.cfm. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Last reviewed January 2015 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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