Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a procedure used to shatter simple stones in the kidney or upper urinary tract. Ultrasonic waves are passed through the body until they strike the dense stones. Pulses of sonic waves pulverize the stones, which are then more easily passed through the ureter and out of the body in the urine.
Review Date: 9/28/2005
Reviewed By: A.D.A.M. Medical Illustration Team: Meredith Nienkamp, M.S.M.I., Dan Johnson, M.S.M.I., Lisa Higginbotham, M.S.M.I. Review also provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network.