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OBJECTIVE: To test the hypothesis that shock wave lithotripsy machines vary in their ability to fragment standardized artificial urinary calculi. MATERIALS AND METHODS: An in vitro test configuration was used to fragment synthetic U-30 Gypsum (U.S. Gypsum, Chicago, IL) stones (mean length 7.1 ± 0.2 mm, mean diameter 6.5 ± 0.07 mm, mean mass 299 ± 16 mg) using the Sonolith i-sys (EDAP TMS, Vaulx-en-Velin, France), Modulith SLX F2 (Storz Medical AG, Tägerwilen, Switzerland), and Piezolith 3000 (Richard Wolf GmbH, Knittlingen, Germany) lithotripters. Gypsum stones were placed at the nominal focus and treated with 250, 500, or 1000 shocks. The residual mass following passage through a 2-mm wire mesh was measured and compared using ANOVA and the Tukey-Kramer HSD test. RESULTS: There was no statistically significant difference between the Modulith SLX F2 and Piezolith 3000 lithotripters for 250 and 1000 shock treatments (p = 0.34 and 0.31, respectively). The Piezolith 3000 demonstrated the most favorable stone mass reduction for 500 shock treatments (187.4 ± 45.2 mg). The Sonolith i-sys was found to be significantly less effective than the other lithotripters for all shockwave conditions. Furthermore, performance of the Sonolith i-sys decreased beyond a threshold generator electrode age of 6000 shocks. CONCLUSIONS: This in vitro study found considerable variability in the ability of lithotripters to fragment synthetic urinary calculi. Synthetic stones were employed to provide a repeatable means of assessing variability in fragmentation efficiency of lithotripters. The Modulith SLX F2 and Piezolith 3000 are broadly equal and resulted in greater fragmentation efficiencies than the Sonolith i-sys. The performance of the Sonolith i-sys deteriorates at 6000 shocks, before the specified lifetime of 20,000 shocks.

Original publication




Journal article


J Endourol

Publication Date





560 - 565


Analysis of Variance, Electrodes, Equipment Design, Humans, In Vitro Techniques, Kidney Calculi, Lithotripsy, Polyethylene, Reproducibility of Results, Urinary Calculi