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Kidney stones - lithotripsy - discharge

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.


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 health care 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 health care 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 health care provider for a follow-up appointment in the weeks after your lithotripsy.

You may have a nephrostomy drainage tube and will need to take care of it.

When to Call the Doctor

Call your health care 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)
  • Light-headedness
  • Fast heartbeat
  • Fever and chills
  • Vomiting
  • Urine that smells bad 
  • A burning feeling when you urinate
  • Very little urine production

Alternate Names

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy - discharge; Shock wave lithotripsy - discharge; Laser lithotripsy - discharge; Percutaneous lithotripsy - discharge; Endoscopic lithotripsy - discharge; ESWL - discharge


Curhan GC. Nephrolithiasis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 128.

Matlaga BR, Lingeman JE. Surgical management of upper urinary tract calculi. In: Wein AJ, ed. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2011:chap 48.

Update Date 9/29/2014

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