Biliary lithotripsy can be enhanced with proper ultrasound probe position.

John Paul Affronti, T. Flournoy, S. Akers, J. Baillie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We have demonstrated in our in vitro system that an extracorporeal lithotripter utilizing a movable ultrasound probe can fragment gallstones more effectively when the ultrasound probe is not partially blocking shock waves. Using a pressure transducer we measured the pressures in the focal volume of a Wolf Piezolith 2300 lithotripter with the ultrasound probe fully extended and fully retracted. We also chose 12 pairs of twin gallstones, each taken from the same gallbladder. One stone from each pair was subjected to shock waves while the ultrasound probe was fully extended and the other treated while the probe was fully retracted. Shock wave pressures (which are converted to a measurable voltage output by our transducer) were clearly lower when the ultrasound probe was extended (5.45 volts; SEM = 0.10 volts) as compared to when the ultrasound scanner was retracted (6.7 volts: SEM = 0.08 volts). Significantly more shock waves were required to completely fragment stones when the ultrasound scanner was extended than when it was retracted (p = 0.01 using the nonparametric Wilcoxon's signed rank test). These results show that, in the lithotripter tested, an extended in-line ultrasound scanner can partially block shock waves. Retraction of an extendible ultrasound probe may enhance stone fragmentation when operating at the highest shock wave intensity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)141-144
Number of pages4
JournalThe Journal of stone disease
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1 1992


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