Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL)

Sound wave treatment for kidney stones

A non-invasive treatment used to break up kidney stones

About lithotripsy

If you have kidney stones, this non-invasive treatment can help. It uses a high-intensity sound wave to break the stones up into smaller pieces, so you can pass them naturally without pain or discomfort.

Need to know

  • What happens icon plus

    The technician will ask you to lie on your side, giving you a water-filled cushion for support. You may also be given a simple analgesia (medication to help relieve pain). After using an X-ray to locate the stone, they will then use a machine called a lithotripter to target it with repeated sound waves. These sound waves will break the stone into small pieces (less than 2mm in size), making them easier to pass. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is an effective treatment for 80% of kidney stones.
  • How to prepare icon plus

    Your consultant will explain the procedure to you and answer any questions you may have.
  • Afterwards icon plus

    You should be able to go home the same day as your surgery. Your consultant will let you know when you can get back to your usual routine, including work or exercise.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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