Northern Litho provides Extracorporeal Shockwave Lithotripsy (ESWL) services to treat Kidney Stone Disease. Kidney Stones are a serious condition that should be treated before they damage the kidneys.

ESWLKedney Stone Lithotripsy

ESWL is a non-invasive procedure that reduces treatment and recovery times when compared to surgical procedures.  Occurrence of complications is historically very low.  Northern Litho’s diverse set of ESWL technology allows for right-sized solutions for better patient care. Extracorporeal Lithotripsy is considered the first line of therapy for most kidney and upper ureteral stones.  The term “extracorporeal” refers to the non-invasive nature of treatment.  “Litho” means stone and “tripsy” means crushing.  Extracorporeal Lithotripsy treatment was developed to fragment stones to a size which can pass from the body with the urine.  The stone to be treated is targeted with the use of X-ray or ultrasound. Multiple high energy pressure waves are then directed at the stone until the targeted stone breaks apart.

Kidney Stone Disease Formation

Most kidney stones result from imbalances in the body.  Normal urine contains substances that inhibit formation of crystals.  Stones form when crystals separate from the urine and build up on the inner surface of the kidney.  Common symptoms associated with kidney stones include mild to severe flank or back pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or blood in the urine.  A number of factors are thought to influence development of kidney stones in an individual: gender (men >women),  age (30 – 50), diet (high in stone forming substances), and geographical location (temperate climate, high humidity).

What to Expect as a Patient During and after Lithotripsy Procedure  

When you arrive at the lithotripter you will be comfortably positioned on the patient table and given medication to help you relax and minimize discomfort.  Your vital signs will be monitored and you will hear a snapping noise from the lithotripter each time a pressure wave is delivered.   Normal patient response after lithotripsy is some visible blood in the urine and varying degrees of discomfort as stone fragments are passed.  Discharge instructions may include a prescription for pain medication and directions to drink 2-3 quarts of water daily to help flush stone fragments through the urinary system.  A follow-up x-ray may be scheduled to evaluate the efficacy of the treatment.  Most stones can be completely fragmented in a single treatment session; however, depending on the size and composition of the kidney stone(s) additional lithotripsy treatment may be necessary

More Information about Kidney Disease and Treatment Options

National Institute of Health (NIH) provides more information about kidney disease and treatment options on their website.  Patients concerned about kidney symptoms or treatment, should consult a physician who can help them determine the best course of treatment for their specific condition.  Please let us know if you need help locating a physician in your area.