SWL offers many advantages over stone removal through surgery. With SWL, there is an extreme reduction in complications and pain. The trauma, inconvenience, and pain of a surgical incision are avoided. Post-treatment complications are minimized and recuperation time after treatment is greatly reduced. Recuperation with SWL usually takes only a few days compared to the average of 3-6 weeks following surgery.
Over 90% of patients with kidney stones are excellent candidates for SWL treatment. After careful evaluation by an urologist, even a patient with multiple or larger stones located anywhere in the urinary tract may be considered for SWL treatment.
Expense is also reduced with SWL. A patient with multiple or larger stones may require more than one treatment. This not only increases risks and complications, but could develop into a major in-hospital expense. The entire cost for out-patient SWL is substantially less than the cost of removing the stone(s) surgically. SWL has also been approved by Medicare and most health insurance companies.