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Shock Wave Treatment

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most common treatment for kidney stones in the U.S. It uses shock waves to break a kidney stone into small pieces that can more easily travel through the urinary tract camera and pass from the body. Stone fragments usually pass in the urine for a few days and cause mild pain.

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) may be used on people with a kidney stone that is causing pain or blocking the urine flow. Stones that are between 4 mm (0.16 in.) and 2 cm (0.8 in.) in diameter are most likely to be treated with ESWL. If you have a larger stone, you may need more ESWL or other treatments.

When you get home:


  • Begin with clear liquids and light foods; then, progress diet as tolerated
  • Follow special diet instructions if instructed by your doctor


  • Go directly home. Restrict your activities and rest for the day
  • Avoid strenuous activity of heavy lifting until cleared by your doctor
  • You may return to normal activity as tolerated after 2-3 days

General Anesthesia or Sedation

  • Do not drive or operate machinery for 24 hours
  • Do not consume alcohol, tranquilizers, sleeping medications, or a nonprescription medication for 24 hours
  • Do not make important decisions or sign any important papers in the next 24 hours
  • Have someone with you at home for 24 hours


  • Avoid taking Coumadin/Plavik, Asprin until specifically instructed by physician
  • Use ice for the first 24 hours

Side Effects:

  • You may notice bruising both in the front and back from the lithotripsy. This is normal and will usually resolve on its own
  • You may notice some bleeding from the lithotripsy site. Just apply a bandage/band-aid until it stops

Follow Up:

Please make sure to schedule and attend your follow up appointment.