Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy for Kidney Stones

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a nonsurgical treatment for kidney stones . It uses high-energy shock waves to break the stones into tiny pieces. The pieces can then be passed with urine.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Extreme urge or inability to urinate
    • Excessive blood in your urine
    • Signs of infection, including fever and chills
    • Nausea and/or vomiting that you cannot control with the medications you were given after the procedure
    • Pain that you cannot control with the medications you have been given
    • Cough, shortness of breath, or chest pain

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition


    Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a nonsurgical treatment for
    kidney stones
    . It uses high-energy shock waves to break
    the stones
    into tiny pieces. The pieces can then be passed with urine.

    Kidney Stones
    Kidney Stones
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

  • What to Expect

  • 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 kidney tissue
    • Cause bleeding

    Most people who have lithotripsy for kidney stones are free of stones within three months of treatment. Patients with stones in the kidney and upper ureter have the most success with treatment. There may be fragments that are too large to pass after the procedure. They can be treated with lithotripsy again.

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Blood in the urine
    • Bruising in the back or abdomen
    • Pain as the stone fragments pass
    • Failure of stone fragments to pass, requiring additional surgery
    • Need for additional treatments
    • Reaction to anesthesia

    Some factors that may increase the risk of complications include:

    • Bleeding disorders or taking medications that reduce blood clotting
    • Obesity
    • Skeletal deformities