Recent developments in SWL physics research

J Endourol. 1999 Nov;13(9):611-7. doi: 10.1089/end.1999.13.611.


Two projects in our laboratory highlight some recent developments in shockwave lithotripsy (SWL) physics research. In the first project, we developed a prototype of a piezoelectric annular array (PEAA) shockwave generator that can be retrofitted on a Dornier HM-3 lithotripter for active control of cavitation during SWL. The PEAA generator, operating at 15 kV, produces a peak positive pressure of approximately 8 MPa with a -6-dB beam diameter of 5 mm. The shockwave generated by the PEAA was used to control and force the collapse of cavitation bubbles induced by a laboratory electrohydraulic shockwave lithotripter with a truncated HM-3 reflector. With optimal time delay between the lithotripter pulse and the PEAA-generated shockwave, the collapse of cavitation bubbles near the stone surface could be intensified, and the resultant stone fragmentation in vitro could be significantly improved. In the second project, high-speed shadowgraph imaging was used to visualize the dynamics of lithotripter-induced bubble oscillation in a vascular phantom. Compared with the free bubble oscillation in water, the expansion of cavitation bubble(s) produced in silicone tubes and a 200-microm cellulose hollow fiber by either a Nortech EHL or a Dornier XL-1 lithotripter was found to be significantly constrained. Rupture of the cellulose hollow fiber was observed consistently after about 20 shocks from the XL-1 lithotripter at an output voltage of 20 kV. These results confirm experimentally that SWL-induced cavitation in vivo can be significantly constrained by the surrounding tissue, and large intraluminal bubble expansions could cause rupture of capillaries and small blood vessels.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Kidney Calculi / therapy
  • Lithotripsy / trends*
  • Microspheres
  • Oscillometry
  • Physics / trends*
  • Research