It is a procedure that uses concentrated high-energy shock waves, also called sound waves, guided by x-ray or ultrasound to break up stones in the kidney, bladder or ureter. After the procedure, the tiny pieces of stones pass out of the body in your urine.

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most common type of lithotripsy. “Extracorporeal” means outside the body, which means, no incision is made on your body.

You may be given general anesthesia for the procedure, so you will be asleep and pain-free.

A tube may be placed through your bladder or back into your kidney to drain urine from your kidney until all the small pieces of stone pass out of your body. This may be done before or after your lithotripsy treatment.

The lithotripsy procedure should take about 45 minutes to 1 hour.


Though Lithotripsy is safe most of the time, possible complications can be:

  • Bleeding around your kidney, which may require you to get a blood transfusion
  • Kidney infection
  • Pieces of the stone may block urine flow from your kidney causing severe pain or damage to your kidney
  • Pieces of stone are left in your body so you may need more treatments
  • Ulcers in your stomach or small intestine
  • Problems with kidney function after the procedure


 Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy