First Notions About Lithotripsy
German physician and astronomer Franz Paula von Gruithuisen was born on this day in 1774. Von Gruithuisen worked on a primitive form of lithotripsy to crush painful kidney stones in the bladder or urethra. Until the 1980s, the only way to dissolve kidney stones was to use one or several surgical procedures that needed as much as six weeks’ recuperation time. In late 1984, the federal Food and Drug Administration approved extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for use in the United States. During lithotripsy, a noninvasive procedure, kidney stones are targeted with shock waves that break them up.
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