Shock Wave Lithotripsy (SWL) is the important treatment for the kidney stones across the globe. From outside the body the shockwaves are targeted at the kidney stone letting it into pieces that is fragmentation of stone takes place. This is sometimes known as Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy abbreviated as ESWL. These shockwaves are actually the pressure waves that are targeted so as to crush the lithos “stones”.

This is one of the non-surgical technique used to treat stones in the upper ureter and in the kidney utilizing high-energy shock waves. These broken stones are then passed via urine, further if large stones remains then some other treatment strategy is followed.
SWL works with some stones, stones smaller than 1.5 cm in diameter are best treated with SWL, this treatment might not be effective for the removal of large stones.

Females who are pregnant are not treated with SWL since shock-waves and X-rays are not good for the health of these category. There are many constraints for different people, like those who have cardiac issues, infections, bleeding disorders, skeletal abnormalities, are not treated with SWL.

If an individual is having pain, infection and his kidney is in danger, then he needs treatment and for this doctors recommend such lithotripsy. SWL is also very essential to be carried out if an individual is suffering from large stones or has only one kidney functioning or is a patient of kidney transplant.


When a patient is lying on to the operating table, he will be given a soft, water-filled cushion to keep it on his or her abdomen or just behind the kidneys, he will be directed for the position. The body is positioned as such to target the stones specifically with the waves.

This complete procedure takes around 45 to 60 minutes.

In very rarest cases, doctors insert a tube through the bladder and stretch it up to the kidney just before the procedure takes place. These tubes are called as stents and are used when the patient is at high risk of infection, when his or her ureter is blocked and also when the patient is experiencing intolerable pain or reduced function of the kidneys.

After the procedure, if everything goes well patient is discharged (after an hour stay). Guidelines will be given like drink plenty of water, strain the urine so as to retrieve back the stone pieces, take antibiotics and painkillers when needed.


• Blood in your urine
• Possibly abdominal pain
• Abdomen aching for several days.
• Severe cramping pain as devastated stone trashes make their way out of the body.
• Additional treatments may be needed
• Rarely, bleeding near the kidney may occur that might necessitate a blood transfusion
• Pieces of the stone may block the flow of urine