February 29, 2024

The Risks and Side Effects of ESWL: What You Need to Know

ESWL is a non-invasive procedure used to break up kidney stones. It is a popular option for patients who want to avoid surgery and its accompanying risks, but like all medical procedures, there are still some potential side effects and risks to consider.

Potential risks associated with ESWL

ESWL, or shock wave lithotripsy, is a commonly used medical procedure for the treatment of kidney stones. While ESWL is generally considered safe, there are potential risks associated with this procedure that patients need to be aware of. One of the most common risks of ESWL is bruising and/or bleeding in the treated area. Additionally, there is the risk of infection, which can occur if bacteria enters the urinary tract during the procedure. There is also a small risk of damage to surrounding organs, such as the liver or spleen, due to the high energy shock waves used to break up the kidney stones. It is important for patients to discuss the risks and benefits of ESWL with their healthcare provider prior to undergoing the procedure to make an informed decision.

Common side effects patients may experience after undergoing ESWL

Shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) is a commonly used procedure for treating kidney stones. While it is generally considered safe and effective, like any medical procedure, there are risks and potential side effects that patients should be aware of. One of the most common side effects after undergoing ESWL is pain and discomfort. This is due to the shock waves generated during the procedure, which can cause bruising and swelling in the treated area. Patients may also experience some bleeding during and immediately after the procedure. In addition, some patients may experience nausea and vomiting or develop a urinary tract infection after ESWL. It is important for patients to thoroughly discuss the potential risks and side effects of ESWL with their healthcare provider before undergoing the procedure.


While ESWL is a generally safe and effective treatment for kidney stones, there are potential risks and side effects that patients should be aware of before deciding on this method of treatment. Patients should consult with their urologist to discuss the best treatment option for their individual situation and to fully understand the potential risks and benefits associated with ESWL treatment. By being well-informed, patients can make the best decision about their kidney stone treatment and overall health.