lith·o·trip·sy | \ ˈli-thə-ˌtrip-sē \
plural lithotripsies

Definition of lithotripsy 

: the breaking (as by shock waves or crushing with a surgical instrument) of a calculus in the urinary system into pieces small enough to be voided or washed out

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Doctors can also use a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), a non-invasive technique that uses sound waves to break the stone into bits that can then pass through your system. Macaela Mackenzie, Allure, "Kidney Stone Symptoms and Causes That Everyone Needs to Know," 22 Feb. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'lithotripsy.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of lithotripsy

1834, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for lithotripsy

lith- + Greek tripsis a rubbing, from tribein to rub — more at throw entry 1

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The first known use of lithotripsy was in 1834

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lith·o·trip·sy | \ ˈlith-ə-ˌtrip-sē \
plural lithotripsies

Medical Definition of lithotripsy 

: the breaking of a calculus (as by shock waves or crushing with a surgical instrument) in the urinary system into pieces small enough to be voided or washed out

called also litholapaxy, lithotrity

Comments on lithotripsy

What made you want to look up lithotripsy? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


alleviating pain or harshness

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