The Urology Clinic - Georgia Lithotripsy & Laser Center logo for print

120 Trinity Place
Athens, GA 30607


Phone: (706) 543-2718
Fax: (706) 353-3709

120 Trinity Place
Athens, Georgia 30607

(706) 543-2718

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)

Lithotripsy, also known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL), is a non-surgical treatment for kidney or ureteral stones that uses low energy shock-waves focused on the stone to break it into tiny pieces.

Indications

  • Kidney stones
  • Ureteral stones

Procedure

The patient lies on a specialized table and given IV medication for conscious sedation. Several x-rays are then taken in order to target the stone and aim the shock waves. Focused sound waves are then generated by the lithotriptor. These sound waves are felt as a tapping sensation by the patient. Numerous sound waves break the stone into tiny pieces that are able to pass through the urinary system.

Advantages

  • Minimally invasive therapy for kidney or ureteral stones
  • Shortened recovery
  • Surgery still an option if procedure fails
  • Excellent success rates and low complications
  • Less expensive than surgical therapies

Side Effects

Most patients will experience some discomfort when passing the small stone fragments and are given appropriate medications for this after the procedure. The sound waves can cause some patient’s heart to skip a beat, and if this occurs frequently, then the sound waves are timed with the heart rate. On rare occasion, a hematoma may form on the kidney from the shock waves. These hematomas often cause no symptoms and resolve with time. Some patients experience blood in the urine, which usually resolves quickly.