Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is a minimally invasive treatment for kidney stones that involves no incisions. It is one of the most common procedures performed in urology with over 1 million performed yearly.
The procedure is performed under a general anesthetic, which usually takes less than 45 minutes and the patient goes home the same day.
During the procedure, an external shock is created and then focused inside the body onto the stone using X-rays to aim. The shock waves create pressure pulses that fragment stones into smaller pieces that can be passed easily. Stone fragments must then be passed by the patient after they are fragmented.
A typical extra corporeal shockwave machine contains a shock generator head and a fluoroscopy unit to help aim the shock onto the stone.