Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is an outpatient technique for treating stones in the kidney and ureter that does not require surgery.
Instead, high-energy shock waves are passed through the body and used to break stones into pieces as small as grains of sand. Because of their small size, these pieces can pass from the body along with the urine.
After treatment is complete, the patient can move about almost immediately. Many people can fully resume daily activities within one to two days. Special diets are not required, but drinking plenty of water helps the stone fragments pass. Some pain may occur when the fragments pass, which begins soon after treatment and may last for up to four to eight weeks. Oral pain medication and drinking lots of water will help relieve symptoms.
About 90 percent of stones pass through the urinary system without additional treatment.