Shock wave lithotripsy

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Shock wave lithotripsy is a treatment to break down kidney stones. Find out how to prepare for the treatment and how to care for your child afterwards.

Key points

  • Shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) is a non-surgical treatment that uses high-energy shock waves to break down kidney stones so that they can be passed through urine.
  • The treatment lasts 45 minutes to an hour and is done under a general anaesthetic. Further treatments may be needed if the kidney stones are large or not fully broken down. It is common to experience, pain, nausea, bruising and some bleeding after treatment. Follow all instructions from your child’s health care team to control any pain or discomfort and help your child pass any kidney stone particles.
  • Your child can return to normal activity a day or two after treatment once any pain or nausea is under control.
  • Call your child’s doctor if your child develops signs of infection, has an urge or inability to urinate, feels nausea even when taking medication, has a lot of blood in the urine or has breathing problems.
Last updated: December 3rd 2014