Lithotripsy is a medical procedure used to treat kidney stones. It may also be used to treat stones in other organs, such as the gall bladder or the liver. Kidney stones are collections of solid minerals that sometimes form in the kidneys. Healthy kidneys do not have these stone-like formations. Most stones pass out of the body naturally during urination.
Stones may consist of small, sharp-edged crystals, or smoother, heavier formations that resemble polished river rocks. Sometimes these larger formations do not pass in the urine. These stones can cause kidney damage. People with kidney stones may experience bleeding, pain, or urinary tract infections. When stones begin to cause these types of problems, your doctor may suggest lithotripsy in order to break up the stones.