Treatment of kidney stones
Treatment options will vary from stone to stone and patient to patient. A number of factors such as the size, shape, composition, and position of the stone all must be considered before your urologist can decide if you are a suitable candidate for ESWL.
If the stone is small, you may be able to pass it with minimal intervention. This can be achieved by increasing water intake, possibly combined with pain relief and medication which helps to dilate the ureter (the tube between the kidney and the bladder).
Medium sized stones may be suitable for lithotripsy or removal during a ureteroscopy procedure.
A ureteroscopy procedure uses a ureter scope (a tiny light source and camera inserted into the urethra to the bladder) which can be manoeuvred up the ureter to locate the stone. The urologist is able to use special tools to take hold of the stones and remove them.
When the stone is large it requires a more direct approach. A Percutaneous nephrolithotomy is a procedure where a small incision is made in your back to gain direct access to the kidney, allowing removal of the stone. This is performed under general anaesthesia and requires you to stay in hospital for two to three days post procedure.