Kidney stone removal

We can remove kidney stones (and some gallstones) with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) – the only non-invasive treatment for these health problems.

We can remove kidney stones (and some gallstones) with extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) – the only non-invasive treatment for these health problems.

ESWL involves directing ultrasound waves from outside the body to break stones into small fragments that can pass naturally through urine. It is a quick procedure that requires only minimal pain relief and no surgery, meaning that you can attend as an outpatient, there is a reduced risk of infection and you will recover more quickly.

Charing Cross Hospital was one of the first London institutions to use ESWL more than two decades ago, with a team previously led by Mr Jonathan Ramsay and now by Mr Ranan DasGupta and Mr Milad Hanna. We therefore have one of the most experienced teams in the UK offering in-house ESWL treatment for kidney stones.

With ESWL complementing our other offerings, Imperial Private Healthcare provides a truly comprehensive management of stone disease; having multiple treatment options to suit our patients’ unique needs improves the likelihood of kidney stone clearance.

The procedure

Following a scan to accurately locate the kidney stones, you will lie on a water-filled cushion, which helps the high-energy ultrasound waves to reach the target. At Charing Cross Hospital, we apply ESWL using our own state-of-the-art in-house lithotripter – the ultrasound machine that breaks down the stones.

The procedure lasts less than an hour and does not require a general anaesthetic. Usually, you can go home straight away and you do not need to stay in hospital overnight.

After the procedure, the stone fragments will usually pass in the urine after a few days. Larger stones or stones in certain locations may require subsequent ESWL treatments or an alternative approach. With 24/7 access to specialists in this field of care, we can provide any immediate follow-up treatment or pain relief promptly, should you need it.

This method is suitable for around two-thirds of patients. Its usage depends on the size, location and density of stone, and specific patient factors such as body-mass index, medications and other health circumstances, such as pregnancy.

Expert consultants

Dr Milad Hanna – Shockwave therapy is a key focus area of Dr Hanna’s work and research. He co-authored Shock Wave Therapy in Practice, and has advised practices around the world on establishing lithotripsy units. He has managed more than 8,000 patients with urinary tract stones, with an outstanding success rate meaning fewer patients requiring surgery.

Mr Ranan Dasgupta – Consultant urological surgeon and clinical lead for endourology Mr Dasgupta is recognised as an expert in EWSL, as well as laser surgery and minimally invasive (percutaneous) surgery. He has trained other doctors in stone surgery for over 7 years (both in the UK and abroad), is involved in national clinical trials in stone disease, an international faculty member, and jointly runs specialist clinics to support patients with specific stone conditions.