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About Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are one of the most common disorders of the urinary tract. When urine becomes very concentrated, small hard crystals form inside your kidney. If a stone breaks free of your kidney, it can travel through, and get lodged in, other narrower passages of your urinary tract, such as the bladder, ureters and urethra. When a kidney stone becomes too large or painful to pass on its own, your doctor may recommend treatment using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), also simply known as lithotripsy.

Kidney stone symptoms often include:

  • Severe pain on the sides of your lower back
  • Painful and/or frequent urination
  • Urine that is discolored, cloudy and/or foul smelling
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fever and/or chills

Common risk factors include:

  • Males over the age of 40
  • Caucasian
  • Overweight
  • Family or personal history of kidney stones
  • Diet high in animal protein and salt
  • Not drinking enough water
  • Gastric bypass surgery

Lithotripsy—Non-Invasive For Quick Recovery

Using high-energy sound waves known as “shock waves”, lithotripsy sends high-energy sound waves through your body, targeted directly at your kidney stones. These “shock waves” pass painlessly through your body’s soft tissues to break the stones into small, sand-like particles. Once broken up, the smaller stone fragments can more easily travel through your urinary tract and get passed in your urine.

Since lithotripsy is non-invasive—meaning that an incision is not required—you benefit from less discomfort, a shorter procedure time, fewer complications and a faster recovery, compared to traditional surgical methods. In most cases, the lithotripsy procedure itself takes just 30-45 minutes, and you’re able to go home the same day.

Learn more about what to expect with lithotripsy.

Lithotripsy Machine

Why Choose John Muir Health

Depth of expertise: Our board-certified urologists care for hundreds of patients with kidney stones every year.

State-of-the-art technology: We use one of the most technologically advanced stationary lithotripters in the Bay Area, which offers the best possible results with the least amount of side effects.

Ease of Scheduling: With our own dedicated, on-site lithotripter, we’re able to get most patients treated within 24-48 hours—significantly faster than most other providers in the Bay Area.

Hospital-based: Located at John Muir Medical Center, Concord, you have easy, convenient access to other areas of medical care and ancillary services in a single location.

Joint Commission-accredited: This prestigious award recognizes our dedication to continuous compliance with The Joint Commission’s national standards for health care quality and safety in hospitals.

Contact Us

For more information or to schedule a lithotripsy procedure, please call (925) 947-3322. If you are experiencing severe symptoms, please go to your nearest Emergency Department.

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