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
20 mm (1 in.) or smaller.
ByHealthwise Staff Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine Brian D. O'Brien, MD - Internal Medicine Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine Specialist Medical ReviewerArvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology