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Kidney Diseases

Does Lithotripsy cause any kidney damage?

02/08/2001

Question:

Does the performance of lithotripsy for kidney stones cause ANY permanent damage to the tubular or other delicate parts of the kidney`s intricate filtering system (especially if the stones are broken up in the kidney proper)? I`ve heard both sides argued here -- what are the facts? Also, what`s the best way to avoid recurrence of stones (calcium oxylate)? Thanks a lot for your insights!

Answer:

Lithotripsy treatment for kidney stones located in the substance of the kidney will cause some tubular damage locally. There are about a million nephrons in each kidney/ The loss of a few should not have any detectable effect on kidney function. The use of this form of treatment for such stones depends upon where the calcifications are and how big they are. Whether this is the appropriate therapy for you is best judged by the experts taking care of you.

The cause of calcium oxylate stones is not known. Keeping the urine very dilute will minimize the likelihood of calcium oxalate to precipitate and form stones. Drinking 8 glasses of water each day will help. There is no known cure available at this time.

I hope this information is helpful.

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Response by:

Philip W Hall, 3rd, MD Philip W Hall, 3rd, MD
Formerly, Professor Emeritus of Medicine
School of Medicine
Case Western Reserve University