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Featured treatments

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Retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS)

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Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

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Ureteroscopic Lithotripsy (URSL)

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Ureteroscopy (URS)

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Laparoscopic Pyelolithotomy

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Retrograde intrarenal surgery (RIRS)

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Percutaneous Nephrolithotomy (PCNL)

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Ureteroscopic Lithotripsy (URSL)

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Ureteroscopy (URS)

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Laparoscopic Pyelolithotomy


Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a non-invasive medical procedure that employs shock waves to disintegrate kidney stones, gallstones, and other kinds of bodily stones. The shock waves pass harmlessly through the skin and tissues until they reach the stones, and break them into smaller pieces that can be passed more easily through the urinary system. The procedure typically lasts between 45 minutes to an hour, and patients may need multiple sessions depending on the size and location of the stone.

What is an Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)?

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) is a minimally invasive medical procedure that employs shock waves to remove calculi (stones) from the body, including kidney and gallstones. There are usually no incisions made during the surgery and is performed in an outpatient setting.

The patient lies on a table during an ESWL surgery, and a lithotripter, a specialized medical device, is used to transmit shock waves to the area of the body where the stones are present. This helps shatter the stones into smaller bits that can be naturally excreted from the body through urine.

When is an Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) Recommended?

Patients with tiny kidney stones (less than 2 cm in diameter) that are situated in the kidney or upper ureter are often advised to undergo ESWL. For larger stones or stones found in other regions of the urinary system, the technique is ineffective.

A patient's choice of ESWL may be influenced by a number of factors, such as:

However, ESWL might not be suggested for people who:

The choice to undergo ESWL should ultimately be taken in consultation with a healthcare professional who can assess the patient's unique circumstances and suggest the best course of action.

How to Prepare For an Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)?

To achieve the greatest outcome, patients who are scheduled for an Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) surgery must get ready beforehand. Here are some general pointers for getting ready for the ESWL:

  • Talk to your doctor about your medications: You can discuss your medical history including any current ailments medications and dietary supplements. To lower the risk of bleeding or other issues, several drugs (such as blood thinners) might need to be stopped or altered prior to the procedure.
  • Notify your doctor of any allergies: Patients should let their doctor know if they have any allergies, particularly those to latex or drugs.
  • Make dietary modifications: Your doctor may advise certain dietary modifications before the procedure such as including more fiber in your diet and avoiding processed foods. 
  • Arrange for help: Patients should make arrangements for a ride home because they may be given a light sedative or anesthesia during the treatment.
  • Follow fasting instructions: To guarantee an empty stomach for the surgery, patients might be advised to fast for a few hours. Patients should closely adhere to their doctor's advice regarding fasting and hydration prior to the treatment.
  • Bring your list of queries: To make sure you understand what to anticipate and how to care for themselves during recovery, patients should create a list of questions to ask their doctor before the treatment.

To get the greatest outcome, patients should carefully adhere to their doctor's recommendations both before and after the treatment.

How is Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) Performed?

Here is a general overview of the steps involved in performing ESWL:

  • Anesthesia: Your doctor may administer a mild sedative or anesthesia to help you relax during the procedure.
  • X-Rays: You will be asked to lie on a special table and X-rays or ultrasound is used to to locate the right location of the stones. This will help guide the lithotripter to the right position.
  • Lithotripsy: A machine called a lithotripter is used to focus shock waves on the stones, breaking them up into smaller bits that can be naturally expelled from the body. The number and intensity of the shock waves may vary depending on the size and location of the stone.
  • Monitoring: To guarantee patient safety and comfort, vital signs and pain levels are continuously monitored throughout the surgery.
  • Post-procedure: You will be watched over for a short period of time after the surgery to ensure your safety. You may feel some discomfort or pain as the stone fragments exit the body. Your doctor will prescribe pain medications to manage this discomfort.

Depending on the size and position of the stones, the total time for the ESWL operation can range between 45 and 60 minutes. Although they may need to refrain from excessive exercise for a few weeks, patients can typically go home the same day and resume normal activities within a few days. To ensure that all of the stone particles have been removed from the body, further imaging tests may be performed.

What to Expect After an Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)?

Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL) surgery

  • Mild Pain or Discomfort: It is normal to feel some amount of pain and discomfort during the initial days while your body tries to expel the broken fragments of the stone. This can however be managed with prescribed medications.
  • Bruising: You may experience some bruising on your back or abdomen where the shock waves were administered. This is also normal and should go away within a few days.
  • Urinary symptoms: For a few days following the treatment, patients may suffer some pain or burning when urinating as well as blood in the urine. This is typical and will probably get better on its own.
  • Nausea: Some people may experience nausea after the procedure. If this happens to you, let your doctor know.

Most patients can resume their regular activities within a few days of the treatment, however, they may need to refrain from heavy lifting or intense activity for a few weeks. To ensure a quick recovery and avoid complications, patients should carefully follow their doctor's post-procedure instructions. Patients should also get in touch with their doctor if they have excruciating pain, fever, or any other symptoms that might point to an issue.

What are the Benefits and Risks of an Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)?

Kidney stone treatment using extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is safe and risks are rare. The followings are some of the benefits and risks associated with ESWL.


  • Non-invasive: ESWL does not involve incisions, therefore it is less painful, leaves fewer scars, and has less recovery time than invasive operations.
  • High success rate: ESWL has a high success rate. In general, ESWL has a success rate of around 70-90% for kidney stones less than 2 centimeters in size.
  • Short recovery period: Within a few days of the procedure, most patients can resume their regular activities.
  • Complications are few and low risk: ESWL is a safe procedure with minimal risks.


  • Pain and discomfort: As the stone fragments exit your body, you may experience mild pain and discomfort.
  • Bruising: ESWL may result in bruises near the kidney or other adjacent organs.
  • Infection: Although uncommon, like any other procedure there is a chance of infection following ESWL.
  • Incomplete stone removal: In rare cases, small fragments of stones might remain in the body.

Make sure you discuss the benefits and risks of the procedure with your doctor beforehand. This will help you plan your recovery better.

Why Choose Medfin?

Surgery can be a daunting aspect, and feeling anxious is absolutely normal. The massive amount of information you can get from the internet may confuse you even more. This is where Medfin can help. Leave us the hefty task of finding the best hospital, the finest doctor, and the latest procedure at the lowest cost. Let us take charge while you sit back and focus on your health and recovery. Think surgery! Think Medfin! 

The power of Medfin in patient’s words


“ Got to know about them from my friend. They got an appointment for only 299. Once the doctor confirmed that I needed the surgery they got me a fixed cost which included ALL the costs. No extra amounts were charged. Thank you Medfin”

Suresh Menon Hyderabad 8 days ago
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“ After my consultation with the doctor, MEDFIN representative got me a fixed package cost that included my mothers initial tests, surgery cost. They also gave me stockings free for Rs. 3000 post the surgery. They kept up their promise they made”

Radhika Iyer Mumbai 8 days ago
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“ Thank you Medfin. They ensured the whole process from selecting a very experienced doctor to offering the latest procedure at a very reasonable price. They also arranged a follow up post my surgery with the doctor to ensure my recovery was on track. Thank you for being there throughout”

Deepa Shree Bangalore 8 days ago
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Icon-thumb Recommended our service
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