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
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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.