Treatment of gallstones: gallstone crushing (ESWL)

Treatment of gallstones: gallstone crushing

gallstones, gallstone dissolution, gallbladder surgery

Shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)

Stone crushing (lithotripsy, ESWL, shock wave stone crushing)

This method was first used in Germany in 1985. The aim of the intervention is to break the stones into pieces without surgical intervention. The special shock waves are generated by a generator outside the body.

Principle: The shock waves, which are concentrated on the gallstones, break the gallstones into fine particles and then dissolve these smaller stones with bile acid treatment.

The treatment: The shockwave treatment lasts about 30-60 minutes: the patient is constantly monitored during the treatment, and the stone is checked by ultrasound. The type, size and number of stones determines whether the treatment should be carried out in one or more sessions to ensure that the stones are completely disintegrated.

Which stones are suitable for shockwave treatment?

  • A single gallstone smaller than 3 cm or several stones not exceeding 3 cm in total;
  • gallstones that cause complaints;
  • a gallbladder that can contract;
  • normal blood clotting conditions;
  • no inflammatory reaction in the gall bladder or pancreas;
  • pregnancy can be ruled out.

The advantages of lithotripsy: the gallbladder can be preserved with shockwave therapy, avoiding surgery. It is relatively quick and has no particular risk.

Based on about 10 years of clinical experience, the success rate in cases suitable for treatment is 70-90%. Bile acid treatment should be used to dissolve the fine stone chips. In the days and weeks following treatment, small fragments of stone that are removed can cause bile spasm; larger fragments can block the bile ducts.

In Budapest, Dr. András Bodnár performs gallstone crushing at the Bajcsy Hospital, you can inquire on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday between 9.30 and 12.00, tel.: +36-30-641-0771.

Source: ESWL

Related article: The disposable organ we can't live without (Source: Ann Louise Gittleman, Translated by Judit Váradi)

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