A stone is a hard mass developed by crystals from urine in the urinary tract. It can be found in the kidney or in the ureter (the urinary tract that leads from the kidney to the bladder). Shockwave lithotripsy (ESWL) is done with a machine that breaks stones from outside the body.
The aim is treatment without the need for a surgical intervention. Focused shock waves (short-signal high-energy sound waves) are transmitted from the skin to the stone to break the stone. The stone absorbs the energy of the shock waves and breaks them into small pieces. The particles are then excreted through the urine. The success of the ESWL method depends on several factors such as the stone's qualities and body structure.
Before any application is made to get rid of the kidney stone, the size of the stone, its location and the anatomy of the kidney are determined.
The drugs used by the patient, whether there is a urinary tract infection and whether he has high blood pressure should be investigated. There should be no infection in the urinary tract, if any, it should be under control with medication.
During the treatment, the patient usually does not feel pain and aches. If there is pain, it can be controlled with painkillers. The patient does not need to receive anesthesia. Sessions last about 30 minutes and the patient can return to his normal life immediately after the procedure. An ESWL device consists of imaging/focusing and sound wave generating units.
The stones are visualized fluoroscopically (with X-ray) or ultrasonographically and focused for effective breaking. Sound waves are focused on the stone inside the body using these methods. In one session, approximately 2000 shock waves are sent to the stone and the stone is broken. While soft stones are broken in one session, second or third sessions may be required for hard stones.
Shock waves are created with electrical energy for the device. These shock waves are formed inside the balloon filled with water and are transferred to the body through the balloon as it can move in the water. The waves focused on the stone with the focusing process, concentrate on the stone and break the stone.
These waves do not harm the body, but when transmitted to a stone with a different structure, they cause breakage in the stone. When deciding on stone treatment, treatment options are listed by considering factors such as the size of the stone, the location of the stone, other diseases of the patient, and the component (content) of the stone.