McLaren Health Care

Lithotripsy Surgery for Large Kidney Stones

A less invasive medical procedure called lithotripsy is available for patients suffering from large kidney stones. Lithotripsy uses shock waves to break up stones that are too large to pass on their own.

About Lithotripsy

  • Generally an outpatient procedure lasting 45 minutes to an hour
  • Works for 95% of patients who used to require surgery for kidney stones
  • Reduces the recovery period to days instead of weeks

Kidney Stones

Kidney stones are created when chemicals in the urine turn to crystals and build up to form hard masses. The kidneys main responsibility is to filter water and other substances from the blood, which creates urine. When there is too much waste in the urine and not enough liquid, crystalline masses will attract other minerals and begin to form a stone.


  • Calcium stones
    Calcium stones are made up of calcium, mostly in the form of calcium oxalate. Around 80 percent of all stone cases are calcium related. High calcium oxalate levels are a result of eating certain fruits and vegetables such as rhubarb, spinach, beets, strawberries, nuts, and even chocolate. High doses of vitamin D and a high protein diet will increase the amount of calcium oxalate in the urine. Some calcium stones may also occur in the form of calcium phosphate.
  • Struvite stones
    Struvite stones form in response to an infection, such as a urinary tract infection. They grow quickly and can become quite large.
  • Uric acid stones
    Uric acid stones occur in dehydrated individuals, those who eat a high-protein diet, and those with gout.
  • Cystine stones
    Cystine stones represent a small percentage of kidney stones, and are the result of a hereditary disorder that causes kidneys to excrete large amounts of amino acids.


  • Kidney stones are more likely to develop in individuals with a genetic history
  • Poor diet
  • Lack of physical exercise
  • Dehydration (a lack of fluids in the body increases the concentration of minerals in the kidneys, causing stones to form)


  • Sharp cramping pain in the lower back and/or lower abdomen
  • Blood in the urine
  • Difficulty urinating
  • Nausea or vomiting


  • Drink plenty of water
  • Make any diet changes recommended by your healthcare provider
  • Exercise regularly
  • Continue regular wellness checks