electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL)


If stones develop in your urinary tract or bile duct, passing them can be very painful. These stones can sometimes be broken up with high-energy shock waves in a procedure called electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL). EHL is often done in conjunction with Spyglass to break up large stones instead of performing surgery.

 what to expect

Before EHL, a dye is injected into your arm that makes the stone visible on an X-ray. You'll fast for a number of hours beforehand, and your doctor may tell you to stop taking certain medications. You’ll be put under anesthesia, and a flexible probe (ureteroscope) will be inserted into your urethra, near the stone. The probe delivers an electric current that creates shock waves, which break up the stone. The fragmented stone either passes through your bladder or is extracted by your doctor during EHL.


The EHL procedure takes about 30 to 60 minutes, and you’ll remain at the clinic or hospital until your anesthesia wears off. You’ll need someone to drive you home. You might be sent home with pain medication and instructions to drink plenty of water in the days and weeks after EHL. You can usually return to normal activities in a day or two.

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