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ESWL Treats Kidney Stones

ESWL Treats Kidney Stones

One in 1,000 Americans suffers from kidney stones each year. Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract, and they can be excruciatingly painful.

For years, the standard treatment for kidney stones was open surgery, however, recent advances in technology have dramatically changed that standard. Stones located in the kidney or high up in the ureter are now most effectively treated using a minimally invasive procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL). This state-of-the-art technology breaks up the stone from outside of the body using shock waves. Radiologic imaging guides the lithotriptor to the exact location of the stone. There is no cutting or incision involved, and the procedure is performed under regional or intravenous anesthesia. Depending on the size of the stone, the success rate is 80 to 90 percent.

Cayuga Medical Center, working closely with local urologists, initiated lithotripsy as a new surgical service in 1998. Patients requiring ESWL have the procedure performed locally, eliminating the need to travel out of town. Recent advances in this important new technology have made lithotripsy extremely safe, and patients are able to return home the same day.

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