So, you’ve got a stone. Not the best news you’ve heard this week but, well, it could be worse.
Now you need to decide what to do about it. The good news is that whatever modality you chose to treat your stone, you will most likely be rendered stone free with nothing more than a simple outpatient procedure.
For most patients, the decision of how to treat a stone comes down to undergoing shockwave lithotripsy vs ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy. Yes, there are other options including percutaneous (through the skin) approaches for very large stones but for most stones, a minimally invasive procedure will work very well.
With that in mind, I thought I would walk everyone through the pros and cons of shockwave lithotripsy vs ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy.
Shockwave lithotripsy involves a patient going to sleep (general anesthesia) and the surgeon then applying concentrated sound waves to the stone to break it up. To be a candidate for this procedure, the stone should be in the kidney, it needs to be visible on fluoroscopy and the distance between the stone and your skin cannot be excessive. The advantages of this procedure include its noninvasive technique and its high success rate.
An alternative is to use ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy. All stones and all patients are candidates for this procedure though it tends to work best on smaller stones in the ureter. The advantages of this procedure include its higher stone free rate as compared to shockwave lithotripsy but it does have the disadvantage of being more invasive.
Here at Pikes Peak Urology, we offer all treatment options for stones and we understand that passing a stone is an incredibly painful experience and we strive to treat all of our patients in a safe and expeditious fashion. If you have any questions, please call my office at 531-7007 to make an appointment.