Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is the use of sound waves to fragment stones.
Current generators use either electrohydraulic, piezoelectric or electromagnetic elements to produce energy which is then directed skin onto the stone through the skin under x-ray or ultrasound guidance.
The stone is disintegrated in situ and the patient left to pass the fragments over the next days or weeks.
Most treatments are performed as an outpatient procedure under local anaesthesia or sedation+analgesia.
Last reviewed 01/2018