Definition of lithotripsy in US English:



  • A treatment, typically using ultrasound shock waves, by which a kidney stone or other calculus is broken into small particles that can be passed out by the body.

    • ‘Mechanical percussion techniques have been used therapeutically after shock wave lithotripsy to dislodge such calculi from the lower pole of the kidney.’
    • ‘Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is trying to find other niches than lithotripsy, particularly as a treatment for tendon related pain.’
    • ‘She has had lithotripsy and multiple surgical procedures.’
    • ‘Such procedures include magnetic resonance imaging, which is often used to evaluate internal organs, and extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy, which uses shock waves to break up large kidney stones.’
    • ‘For proximal ureteric stones, shock wave lithotripsy is useful if the stone is less than 1 cm in size, and ureteroscopy is more successful for stones larger than 1 cm.’


Mid 19th century: from litho- ‘of stone’ + Greek tripsis ‘rubbing’, from tribein ‘to rub’.