Kidney Stone Education

Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL) for Kidney Stones

Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL) for Kidney Stones


Shockwave Lithotripsy (SWL) was first used to treat kidney stones in 1980. This treatment modality uses sound waves to break apart kidney stones so that smaller fragments may pass through the urine. In the 40+ years since its introduction, SWL has become widely popular and is currently one of the first-line options for the non-invasive treatment of kidney stones less than 20mm in diameter without the requirement for general anesthesia. However, due to its incredibly complicated nature and unreliable performance, alternative treatment methods with higher success rates are becoming more prevalent.  

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