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Lithotripsy for Gallstones - Topic Overview

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.

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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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: July 10, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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