Lithotripsy, which is also called extracorporeal shock wave treatment, uses shock waves focused by ultrasound to break up gallstones. Lithotripsy may be used alone or along with bile acids to break up stones.
The procedure, which is now rarely performed, has been used for people who have long-term (chronic) inflammation of the gallbladder (cholecystitis) and who are not strong enough for surgery. But it is not appropriate in treating sudden (acute) cholecystitis.
Lithotripsy is most effective for people who have no complications from gallbladder disease and who have one stone that is 1 in. (20 mm) or smaller.
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
Current as ofAugust 9, 2016
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2017 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Donations to UW Health are managed by the University of Wisconsin Foundation, a publicly supported charitable organization under 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.