Kidney stones are painful. When hard stones develop in the kidneys and pass into the ureter, they are sometimes small enough to allow them to pass on their own. The larger stones, however, get stuck and require more aggressive attempts to remove them.

Lithotripsy is performed by first using fluoroscopy or ultrasound to locate the exact location of the stone. Ultrasonic shock waves are then directed at the stone with a machine called a lithotripter to break it into smaller pieces that will pass through the ureter. It could take several weeks for the small stones to pass after treatment. By utilizing ultrasound and sound waves, it is possible to avoid invasive surgery.

Lithotripsy procedures were introduced in the early 1980s and changed the treatment of kidney stone patients for the better by providing a non-invasive treatment.

Since this procedure was introduced, the medical community has learned a lot of special maneuvers that will work to clear some of the more stubborn kidney stones. It has also been discovered which types of stones and patient presentations respond better to lithotripsy than others. The procedure has been made more effective and safer along the way.

Lithotripsy is one option for treating kidney stones at Magic Valley Urology in Twin Falls, Idaho.