Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)

Picture of stone in the kidney

Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) uses shock waves to break a kidney stone into small pieces that can more easily travel through the urinary tract and pass from the body.

You lie on a water-filled cushion. X-rays or ultrasound tests are used to precisely locate the stone. High-energy sound waves pass through your body without injuring it and break the stone into small pieces.

Last Updated: May 4, 2009

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Philip Belitsky, MD, FRCSC - Urology

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