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Kidney Stones

If you're experiencing the pain of kidney stones, you're not alone. Let's talk about what kidney stones are and how procedures like ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy and shockwave lithotripsy can help you find relief.

What are Kidney Stones?

Kidney stones are hard mineral and salt deposits that form in the kidneys or urinary tract. They can vary in size and shape, from tiny specks to larger stones that can cause severe pain. When kidney stones move through the urinary tract, they can block the flow of urine and cause discomfort.

Understanding Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy

Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy is a minimally invasive procedure used to remove kidney stones that are stuck in the ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder).

 

Let's break down what this means:

Ureteroscopy:

A ureteroscope, a thin, flexible tube with a camera at the end, is passed through the urethra and into the bladder, then up into the ureter and sometimes up to the kidney.

Laser Lithotripsy:

Once the stone is located, a laser fiber is used to break the stone into smaller fragments. These smaller pieces can then pass more easily through the urinary tract.

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How Does Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy Work?

 

1.    Anesthesia: You'll typically receive general anesthesia or sedation to keep you comfortable during the procedure.

2.    Insertion of Ureteroscope: The urologist guides the ureteroscope through the urinary tract to locate the kidney stone.

3.    Laser Lithotripsy: The laser is used to break the stone into smaller pieces. This process is repeated until all fragments are small enough to pass naturally through the urinary tract.

4.    Stone Removal: Once the stone is fragmented, the urologist may remove the pieces using a small basket or allow them to pass naturally if they are too small to basket.

Understanding Shockwave Lithotripsy

Shockwave lithotripsy is another non-invasive procedure used to break up kidney stones into smaller pieces. Here's how it works:

Shockwaves:

High-energy shockwaves are directed at the kidney stone from outside the body, using a machine called a lithotripter.

Stone Fragmentation:

The shockwaves break the stone into smaller pieces, which can then pass through the urinary tract more easily.

How Does Shockwave Lithotripsy Work?

  1. Anesthesia: You'll typically receive general anesthesia or sedation to keep you comfortable during the procedure.

  2. Positioning: You'll lie on a table, and the urologist will use X-rays or ultrasound to locate the kidney stone.

  3. Shockwave Application: The lithotripter delivers shockwaves to the targeted kidney stone.

  4. Stone Fragmentation: The shockwaves break the stone into smaller pieces, which can then be passed in the urine over the following days or weeks.

Benefits of Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy and Shockwave Lithotripsy

  • Minimally Invasive: Both procedures are minimally invasive, meaning they involve small incisions or no incisions at all.

  • High Success Rates: Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy and shockwave lithotripsy are highly effective at breaking up kidney stones and relieving symptoms, although ureteroscopy is generally more effective but slightly more invasive.

  • Quick Recovery: Recovery time is typically short, allowing you to return to normal activities soon after the procedure.

Is Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy or Shockwave Lithotripsy Right for You?

These procedures may be recommended if:

  • You have a kidney stone that is too large to pass naturally.

  • You're experiencing severe pain or complications due to kidney stones.

  • Other treatments, such as medications or dietary changes, have been unsuccessful.

Conclusion

If you're dealing with kidney stones, you don't have to suffer in silence. Ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy and shockwave lithotripsy are effective and minimally invasive treatments that can help you find relief. Schedule a consultation today to discuss which treatment option is right for you. We're here to help you get back to feeling your best.

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