Q. What are the side effects of radiation used in lithotripsy?

Answered by
Dr. Shahil Khant
and medically reviewed by iCliniq medical review team.
This is a premium question & answer published on Dec 29, 2019 and last reviewed on: Dec 31, 2019

Hello doctor,

I am 24 years old. I had my kidney stone removed a year ago for causing mild hydronephrosis at my right kidney. During the treatment, I was exposed to full of radiation, abdominal CT scan, lithotripsy, fluoroscopy, and another fluoroscopy during stent insertion. I am not sure how the doctor manages the radiation. I did my treatment abroad and it is not really a well-developed country. He might not even care bout it. I studied some about radiation when I was in dental school so I am very scared of the side effects.

So if I am to have another case of hydronephrosis, should I just remove the kidney rather than undergoing such radiation which may cause me high risk of future cancer? Because as you can see, I am still so young and I just started my career. What do you suggest? Do the pros outweigh the cons or vice versa? Is there another less risky treatment in terms of radiation? How about invasive treatment? Is the risk higher aside from the slow healing? And I am serious about the removal if indeed it has lower radiation risk, even though I know kidney is very important. Please suggest.

Dr. Shahil Khant

Andrology General Surgery Urology


Welcome to icliniq.com.

There are enough studies and literature which prove that though there is radiation exposure during CT (computed tomography) scan in the removal of kidney stone it is in low dose and chances of cancer do not increase. So do not worry about that.

I do not think removing kidney to escape from radiation exposure is a good option. You should not think of that. If there is again stone formation then there is a treatment called ultrasound-guided lithotripsy (ESWL) which can break your stone from outside without any radiation exposure. So you can do ESWL (extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy) if required later but no need to remove the kidney.

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