Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) is currently the only noninvasive treatment for kidney stones. As a specialist in stone removal, board-certified urologist W. Cooper Buschemeyer III, MD, has extensive experience performing ESWL. Dr. Buschemeyer also understands the severe pain of kidney stones and offers same-day ESWL so you can get rapid pain relief. At the earliest sign of kidney stones, call the office in Conroe or The Woodlands, Texas, or request an appointment online.
Extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy or ESWL, a noninvasive treatment for kidney stones, uses the vibrations produced by high-energy shock waves to break kidney stones into smaller pieces. Once the stone shatters, the pieces can pass out of your body with your urine.
Dr. Buschemeyer III uses extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy when a stone blocks one of the ureters (the tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to your bladder) or when the stone causes severe pain.
ESWL works best on small stones in the ureter or kidney. If the kidney stone is too large, you may need more than one ESWL treatment, or Dr. Buschemeyer III may recommend a different way to remove the stone.
In addition to having a small stone, you need to be in good general health to have ESWL. People with poorly managed high blood pressure, a bleeding disorder, urinary tract infection, or kidney infection may not be able to have ESWL.
Additionally, women who are pregnant can’t have ESWL. Kidney stones are common during pregnancy, but the high-pressure shock waves can damage the fetus.
Before recommending or performing ESWL, Dr. Buschemeyer III performs diagnostic imaging to determine the exact size and location of your stones. Once he determines you’re a good candidate for ESWL, you can have your procedure right away.
After you receive a sedative, you lie down, and Dr. Buschemeyer III places a water-filled cushion on your abdomen or behind your kidney. Using real-time imaging, he focuses the lithotripter machine on the stone, and the device sends a series of shock waves through your skin and into the stone.
You stay in recovery for a short time and go home the same day. It’s normal to have some blood in your urine and abdominal pain for a few days, but most people return to their normal activities in a day or two.
After ESWL, Dr. Buschemeyer III may place a temporary stent in your ureter. The flexible tube holds the ureter open, ensuring the broken pieces of stone safely pass into your bladder. Once the stone fragments reach the bladder, they easily flow out of your body in your urine.
If you have symptoms of kidney stones, such as severe pain in the side and back, call W. Cooper Buschemeyer III, MD, or schedule an appointment online right away.