Lithotripsy is a medical procedure that uses shock waves to break up stones in the kidney, bladder, or ureter (tube that carries urine from your kidneys to your bladder). After the procedure, the tiny pieces of stones pass out of your body in your urine. Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is the most common type of lithotripsy. "Extracorporeal" means outside the body. High-energy shock waves, also called sound waves, will pass through your body until they hit the kidney stones. You may feel a tapping sensation when this starts. The waves break the stones into tiny pieces.The lithotripsy procedure generally takes 45 minutes to 1 hour. How well you do depends on the number of stones you have, their size, and where in your urinary system they are. Usually, lithotripsy completely removes the stones, which are smaller in size. However, for any stone larger than 10 mm lithotripsy is not the best option rather a PCNL is an advisable option. You need to be careful while choosing the treatment option as your doctor may try to use lithotripsy as the first line of treatment, which can prove to be futile as mentioned in the reason above.
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