• Electrohydraulic Lithotripsy

    (EHL; Intracorporeal Lithotripsy; Ureteroscopic Stone Removal


    Electrohydraulic lithotripsy is one of many methods to treat kidney stones. It uses an electrohydraulic device with a flexible probe to deliver electricity that breaks apart the stones.
    Kidney Stone
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Reasons for Procedure

    Lithotripsy is used to remove kidney stones that:
    • Are too large to pass
    • Cause constant pain
    • Block the flow of urine
    • Cause an ongoing infection
    • Damage surrounding tissue
    • Cause bleeding

    Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:
    • Damage or irritation to tissue or surrounding structures
    • Blood in the urine
    • Infection
    • Pain as the stone fragments pass
    • Failure of stone fragments to pass, requiring additional surgery
    • Need for more treatments
    • Reaction to anesthesia
    Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
    Your risk of complications may increase if you have bleeding disorders or are taking medications that reduce blood clotting.

    What to Expect

    Prior to Procedure

    Before the procedure, your doctor may do the following:
    • Physical exam and medical history
    • Blood and urine tests
    • Imaging studies to find the location of the stone
    Other things to remember before the procedure:
    • Arrange for a ride home from the care center.
    • If instructed by your doctor, do not eat or drink for 8 hours before the procedure.
    Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to 1 week before the procedure.


    General anesthesia will be used. You will be asleep during the procedure.

    Description of the Procedure

    Your doctor will place a tiny flexible probe through your urethra and up the ureter toward the stone. The probe has two electrodes at the end. Images will help locate the stone. After the stone is located, the device will be used. An electrical spark will break the stone. A special basket or forceps may be used to grab the stone fragments and remove them. The stone fragments may be allowed to pass in the urine.
    Depending on the size of the stone, more than one probe may be used. A stent may be placed in the ureter. It will help protect the lining while the stone fragments pass or damage is being repaired.
    There may be fragments that are too large to pass after the procedure. These can be treated again with lithotripsy.

    How Long Will It Take?

    30-60 minutes depending on the size and location of the stone

    How Much Will It Hurt?

    Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.

    Average Hospital Stay

    This procedure is usually done in an outpatient setting. In most cases, there will be no hospital stay.

    Post-procedure Care

    At the Care Center
    • You will be monitored as you recover from anesthesia.
    • Pain medication will be given.
    • You may be asked to get up and walk around before leaving the care center.
    During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
    • Washing their hands
    • Wearing gloves or masks
    There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
    • Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
    • Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
    At Home
    To help with your recovery at home:
    • Drink plenty of water in the weeks after the procedure. This will help the stone pieces to pass.
    • Follow your doctor's instructions.

    Call Your Doctor

    It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
    • Inability to urinate
    • Excess blood in your urine
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you've been given
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you've been given
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain
    If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.


    National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases http://www.niddk.nih.gov

    Urology Care Foundation http://www.urologyhealth.org


    Canadian Urological Association http://www.cua.org

    Kidney Foundation of Canada http://www.kidney.ca


    Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/cystoscopy. Updated June 2015. Accessed March 7, 2016.

    Kidney stones in adults. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/stonesadults. Updated February 2013. Accessed March 7, 2016.

    Nephrolithiasis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T114904/Nephrolithiasis. Updated June 30, 2016. Accessed September 23, 2016.

    Ureteroscopy. National Kidney Foundation website. Available at: http://www.kidney.org/atoz/content/kidneystones%5FUreteroscopy.cfm. Accessed March 7, 2016.

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Adrienne Carmack, MD
    • Review Date: 03/2017
    • Update Date: 04/29/2014
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