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Definition of Lithotripsy, extracorporeal shock wave

Lithotripsy, extracorporeal shock wave: A technique for shattering a kidney stone or gallstone with a shock wave that is produced outside the body. Anesthesia may be necessary to control the pain, depending on the size and density of the stone and on the energy of the shock wave needed to break it up. The urologist may opt to place a catheter (stent) in the ureter from below to facilitate passage of the shattered fragments. Abbreviated ESWL.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=8335
Last Editorial Review: 3/19/2012

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