What Should You Expect During the Recovery Period Following Lithotripsy?

During the recovery period following a lithotripsy, a procedure that breaks up kidney stones using shock waves, patients can expect to see small amounts of blood in the urine. It is also normal to experience nausea or pain while passing the stone fragments, according to MedlinePlus.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, also known as lithotripsy or ESWL, is a common and effective treatment for kidney stones, and most patients can resume normal activities within one or two days, says WebMD. The procedure takes about an hour and is performed using sedatives or a local anesthesia. It is an outpatient procedure and does not require a hospital stay.

After a lithotripsy procedure, a patient may be asked to strain his urine and collect any stone fragments he passes, says MedlinePlus. It is normal to experience some pain when these fragments exit the urinary system, but if a patient experiences severe pain or passes significant amounts of blood, he should tell his physician.

A blocked urine flow due to being unable to pass a larger fragment may require a follow-up procedure in which a utereoscope is used to dislodge the fragment, says WebMD. Another possible complication is urinary tract infection. Follow-up care includes taking pain medication and antibiotics, drinking lots of water to flush the stone debris from the system, and making lifestyle changes to prevent the return of the kidney stones, notes MedlinePlus.