Lithotripsy: Shock Wave Treatment

Lithotripsy is a procedure that uses shock waves to break stones in the kidney, bladder, or ureter (the tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). After the procedure, the tiny stone fragments are then able to pass from your body in your urine.

How Lithotripsy Works:

There are several types of Lithotripsy available, the most common is known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL).“Extracorporeal” means outside of the body. The lithotripsy procedure generally takes 45 minutes to one hour.

High-energy shock waves (sound waves) are passed through your body until they hit the stones. You may feel a “tapping” sensation during this portion of treatment. The waves break the stones into tiny pieces. A tube may be placed through your back and into your kidney to drain urine from your kidney until all the small stone pieces pass. The tube may be put in place before or after your lithotripsy treatment.

Successful Lithotripsy:

In most cases, lithotripsy completely removes the stones. However, the success of the treatment depends on a variety of factors, including:

  • The number of stones
  • Stone size
  • Location of the stones within your urinary system

If you have any questions regarding lithotripsy, or if you think it may right fit for you, our team of professionals are available to answer any questions to help you make an informed decision. We at Western Michigan Urological Associates want to work with you to find the best option for you and your family. Ask Your Primary Care Provider for a Referral.