Shock Wave Therapy

Shock wave therapy is the most common treatment for kidney stones. There is no surgery. Using shock waves outside the body, your urologist can break up the kidney stones. Also called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), shock wave therapy is a completely non-invasive procedure. ESWL may be an option if your kidney stones cause:

  • Pain

  • Urinary tract infections (UTIs)

  • Bleeding

  • Damage to kidneys

Is ESWL right for me?

The following people may not be qualified for shock wave therapy:

  • Patients who need immediate treatment

  • Patients on blood thinners

  • Patients with certain types of kidney stones

  • Patients with chronic kidney infections

  • Patients with scar tissue of the ureter (the tube going from the kidney to the bladder)

  • Pregnant women

Speak with your provider to see if ESWL is an option to treat your kidney stones. You will need to undergo a restricted diet the day before the procedure. Over-the-counter laxatives will need to be taken as well. You cannot drink or eat anything after midnight before ESWL. Speak with your primary care provider and specialty doctor about which medications you may need to stop taking before the surgery.

ESWL Recovery

You will likely be in the recovery room for one to two hours after the procedure. You will most likely be discharged the same day. Passing the kidney stone fragments may still be painful. Your doctor will usually prescribe pain relievers to help.Sometimes, additional treatments are needed if stone fragments remain.

Primary care is your first stop for health care.

Talk to your primary care provider if you believe you may have kidney stones.