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Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)


Picture of how lithotripsy for kidney stones works

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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAnne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerTushar J. Vachharajani, MD, FASN, FACP - Nephrology
Last RevisedApril 28, 2011

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