Am I a Candidate for Lithotripsy?

If you think you might have kidney stones, your next step in seeking relief is to verify this by seeing a qualified Urologist. After reviewing your medical history and current health status, your Urologist can determine if you have stones and if so, if you are a candidate for ESL. Your Urologist can then schedule your ESL treatment.

Their are several benefits of lithotripsy over surgical removal of kidney stones.

  • This is a non-invasive treatment which typically lasts only 30-90 minutes and an overnight stay in the hospital is not normally required; surgery may require an extended stay.
  • The recovery time is normally 1-3 days; surgery recovery may take up to 6 weeks.
To find out more about the Lithotripsy Procedure, please review our Procedural Videos

What Can You Expect Before The Lithotripsy Treatment?

You will be evaluated by your urologist to determine if you are a candidate for lithotripsy. A thorough history and physical will be completed prior to your procedure. It is important for you to provide a complete medical and surgical history as well as any medications you are currently taking. You may be required to stop certain medications such as aspirin products, non-steroidals, and blood thinners. Labs, EKG’s, and other diagnostic testing may also be ordered before your lithotripsy.

You will be given a blue packet of information and forms from your doctor that you need to review and complete before your arrival. Please make sure you bring your blue packet with you for your treatment. Please take your medications with you as well for the nurse to review. Written pre-treatment instructions will include arrival time, instructions on eating and drinking, medications to be taken or discontinued, and other general information. You must have a responsible adult accompany you to and from the facility. You will not be able to drive or stay home by yourself for 24 hours.

It is vital that all pre-treatment testing is completed and pre-treatment instructions are followed. If not, your procedure may have to be rescheduled.

Watch Video 2: Lithotripsy: What to Expect

What Can You Expect During a Lithotripsy Treatment?


On arrival, you will check in at the desk. You will change into a gown, vital signs taken, and an intravenous line will be started. You may be given some pre-operative medications which may include a mild sedative and/or antibiotic. Your family member or driver may be able sit with you once you are ready for your treatment. They will wait for you in the waiting room once your treatment is started.

Watch Video 3: Lithotripsy: Pretreatment

Treatment is fairly simple

When it is time for your treatment, you will be escorted out to the mobile unit. The nurse, radiation technician, and doctor will review your medical history with you and confirm which side is to be treated.

You will be placed on a large X-ray table. You will be positioned and a safety belt applied. Your blood pressure, pulse, heart, and oxygen level will be monitored throughout the procedure. Your kidney stone will be visualized on a monitor with fluoroscopy.

The nurse will administer sedatives, pain medication, and possibly other medications through your IV to keep you comfortable for the duration of your treatment. You will be receiving conscious sedation.

You may hear a clicking sound throughout the procedure and feel like a rubberband is snapping at your skin over and over. These are the shockwaves which are used to break up your kidney stone. You may not hear, remember, or feel anything during your lithotripsy.

The treatment will take approximately one hour. It is very important that you remain still, as moving around while on the table can cause pain as well as an ineffective treatment. Your doctor, nurse, and technician will remain with you for the entire treatment.

Watch Video 4: Lithotripsy: Procedure


When your treatment is completed, you will be taken by wheelchair into the recovery area. You may be somewhat drowsy. Your vital signs will be monitored. You may or may not have some discomfort or pain. Pain medication will be administered if indicated. You may be offered something to drink.

Written post operative instructions will be reviewed with you and the adult responsible for taking you home. You may be given prescriptions to take at home as well as instructions for a follow-up appointment with your doctor.

  • When you go home, it is important to get something to eat and drink, nothing spicy or greasy. Drink at least eight ounces every hour while you are awake. Avoid alcohol and caffeine.
  • Take your temperature for the next 24 hours. Call your doctor immediately if it is 101 or greater.
  • You may have a bruise or soreness at the lithotripsy site. You can use a heating pad on the area.
  • Take your pain medication if you need it as well as any other medication your doctor may have ordered. If you stopped any medications prior to your treatment, your doctor will tell you when to resume them.
  • Once you are no longer drowsy, it is important to walk. Walking helps to pass fragments. You may also be given some positioning instructions to do at home.
  • Your urine may be bloody and have some blood clots present. This may last for several days. You will be given a urine strainer with your discharge instructions. You will need to strain your urine for any stone fragments. Save the fragments and take them with you to your follow-up appointment with your doctor.

If you have any other questions, you should call your doctor. Of course, if you have an emergency, don’t wait. Go to the nearest emergency room.

Watch Video 5: Lithotripsy: Post-Treatment