Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy

Shock waves from a machine (lithotriptor) are focused onto stones in the kidney or ureter. The shock waves pass through the body and hit the stone, causing it to fragment into small pieces.

Because of possible discomfort from the procedure, patients will receive anesthesia during lithotripsy. A stent may have to be placed in the ureter through the urethra prior to SWL to help stone fragments pass down the ureter after treatment.

  • Success rates: 50-80% depending on stone size and location.
  • Possible complications: Bleeding in kidney (renal hematoma), obstruction duringpassage of stone fragments (steinstrasse), hypertension, adjacent organ injury and bruising of skin.
  • Hospital stay and recovery: This is the least invasive intervention and is performed asan outpatient procedure (no overnight hospital stay). Recovery time is short and most people are back to normal activity in a few days.