The primary advantage of lithotripsy in kidney stone treatment, Chennai is that it is entirely non-invasive. Lithotripsy is a procedure that allows people with certain types of stones in the urinary system to avoid an invasive surgical procedure for stone removal. Lithotripsy treats kidney stones by sending focused ultrasonic energy or shock waves directly to the stone that has been located with the help of an X-ray or ultrasound.
Lithotripsy, the only non-invasive treatment for kidney stones requiring no incision or internal telescopic device, has been a popular choice since its introduction in the early 1980s. It was then a revolution in treating patients with kidney stone disease who otherwise required major surgeries. However, it has been learned that different patients respond to this technology differently, and lithotripsy may not be very effective in dissolving kidney stones in some patients.
How does lithotripsy work towards dissolving kidney stones?
The most common treatment for kidney stones is Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL). Shock waves from outside the body are targeted at a kidney stone to fragment it into small pieces that can easily be passed with the urine. The procedure is also known as ESWL, short form for Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy, where the words have the following meaning:
– Extracorporeal means from outside the body
– shock waves indicate pressure waves
– lithotripsy, the Greek word “litho” means stone and “tripsy” means crushed
Thus, lithotripsy is a nonsurgical technique for treating stones in the kidney or ureter using high-energy shock waves. Lithotripsy may be performed to treat certain types of kidney stones in specific locations within the urinary tract.
Most lithotripsy treatments are performed on an outpatient basis. The use of anaesthesia usually depends on patient and physician preference, but according to recent data, administration of mild anaesthesia can improve the results of lithotripsy. With the help of a computerized x-ray machine, the location of the stone within the kidney is pinpointed, and a series of shock waves ranging from several hundred to two thousand is administered to the stone. The latest research findings reveal that adjustments of both the shock wave power and the rate at which the shock waves are delivered can affect treatment outcomes. Hence, the best urology clinic in Chennai incorporates treatment protocols to maximize the breakage of a kidney stone and minimize any injury to the kidney and surrounding organs that the shock waves may cause. A lithotripsy procedure typically would last for approximately one hour to reach the goal of breaking stones into stone dust. Drinking plenty of fluids is suggested to help eliminate the fragments faster and entirely.
Indications for lithotripsy towards dissolving kidney stones:
The decision to use lithotripsy will partly depend on the size and shape of the stone, where it is lodged in the urinary tract, the patient’s overall health condition, and kidney health. Factors that determine the effectiveness of lithotripsy are:
– Works best on stones that are smaller than 2 cm in diameter.
– Patients with mobile stones located in the upper portions of the urinary tract, i.e., the kidney and upper ureter.
– Well suited to patients with small kidney stones that can be easily seen by x-ray.
– Energy waves are focused directly on the stone first located in the diagnostic image.
– Appropriate for people whose bodies can be positioned so that the stone can be targeted precisely by the shock waves.
– The patient should be fit enough to take some type of anaesthesia, either local, regional, or general, which can help the patient remain still and reduce any discomfort to improve the breaking of the stone.
70 to 90% of patients who are considered good candidates for lithotripsy at the best hospital for kidney stone treatment in Chennai are found to be free of stones within three months of treatment. The highest success rates are among patients who fulfil the criteria for lithotripsy.
Limitations of lithotripsy towards dissolving kidney stones:
The main criteria that lithotripsy may not satisfy are that all types of kidney stones can be treated by this method. Another primary limitation is that larger stone fragments occasionally remain in the body, requiring additional treatments. Other factors that may not find a patient suitable for lithotripsy include:
– Patients with large kidney stones. Another treatment may be advised for more than 1 to 2 centimetres stones.
– Hard kidney stones made up of cystine or calcium usually do not fragment and break up with lithotripsy.
– Pregnant patients.
– If anatomical abnormalities prevent clear view by the x-ray monitor for shock waves from being targeted accurately, other stone removal methods may have to be considered.
– Patients on medication such as blood thinners or patients with bleeding disorders may not be fit for immediate lithotripsy. Medications such as blood thinners are usually discontinued at least one week before lithotripsy.
– As some fragments may not pass and continue to stay, it will not eliminate bacteria in case of infected kidney stones.
– Passing stone fragments after lithotripsy in patients may be difficult if there is an obstruction or scar tissue in the ureter.
– If immediate and complete clearance of stone material is needed, it is not possible with lithotripsy.
– If larger pieces remain in the kidneys, a repeat procedure or any other method may be required.
– Complications of lithotripsy that include bleeding around the kidney, infection, and obstruction of the urinary tract by stone fragments may also restrict the effectiveness of lithotripsy.
Obesity and intestinal gastritis are some of the conditions that can interfere with the effectiveness of lithotripsy. Patients with implants such as cardiac pacemakers should get a medical clearance and cardiologist approval before lithotripsy may be performed on them with precautions as recommended. Abdominal implants of rate-responsive pacemakers may get damaged during lithotripsy. Other specific medical conditions may pose certain risks that need to be discussed with the best urologist in Chennai before the procedure.