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Kidney stones and lithotripsy - discharge

A kidney stone is a solid mass made up of tiny crystals. You had a medical procedure called lithotripsy to break up the kidney stones. This article gives you advice on what to expect and how to take care of yourself after the procedure.

When You're in the Hospital

You had lithotripsy, a medical procedure that uses high frequency sound (shock) waves to break up stones in your kidney, bladder, or ureter (the tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). The waves break the stones into tiny pieces.

What to Expect at Home

It is normal to have a small amount of blood in your urine for a few days to a few weeks after this procedure.

You may have pain and nausea when the stone pieces pass. This can happen soon after treatment and may last for 4 to 8 weeks.

You may have some bruising on your back or side where the stone was treated. You may also have some pain over the treatment area.

Self-care

Have someone drive you home from the hospital. Rest when you get home. Most people can go back to their regular daily activities 1 or 2 days after this procedure.

Drink a lot of water in the weeks after treatment. This helps pass any pieces of stone that still remain. Your health care provider may give you a medicine called an alpha blocker to make it easier to pass the pieces of stone.

Learn how to prevent your kidney stones from coming back.

Take the pain medicine your provider has told you to take and drink a lot of water if you have pain. You may need to take antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medicines for a few days.

You will probably be asked to strain your urine at home to look for stones. Your provider will tell you how to do this. Any stones you find can be sent to a medical lab to be examined.

You will need to see your provider for a follow-up appointment in the weeks after your lithotripsy.

You may have a nephrostomy drainage tube or an indwelling stent. You will be taught how to take care of it.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your provider if you have:

  • Very bad pain in your back or side that will not go away
  • Heavy bleeding or blood clots in your urine (a small to moderate amount of blood is normal)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fever and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Urine that smells bad
  • A burning feeling when you urinate
  • Very little urine production

Alternative Names

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy - discharge; Shock wave lithotripsy - discharge; Laser lithotripsy - discharge; Percutaneous lithotripsy - discharge; Endoscopic lithotripsy - discharge; ESWL - discharge; Renal calculi - lithotripsy; Nephrolithiasis - lithotripsy; Renal colic - lithotripsy

References

Bushinsky DA. Nephrolithiasis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 126.

Lipkin ME, Ferrandino MN, Preminger GM. Evaluation and medical management of urinary lithiasis. In: Wein AJ, Kavoussi LR, Partin AW, Peters CA, eds. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 11th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2016:chap 52.

Review Date 10/4/2016

Updated by: Jennifer Sobol, DO, urologist with the Michigan Institute of Urology, West Bloomfield, MI. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Isla Ogilvie, PhD, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

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