Focused Ultrasound Therapy

Early Stage squareFocused ultrasound is an early-stage, non-invasive, therapeutic technology with the potential to improve the quality of life and decrease the cost of care for patients with kidney stones. This novel technology focuses beams of ultrasonic energy precisely and accurately on targets in the body without damaging surrounding normal tissue. Where the beams converge, the ultrasound produces precise ablation (thermal destruction of tissue) enabling disruption of the stone’s structure without surgery.

Ongoing work continues is being done by a spin off company from the University of Washington, SonoMotion. Additional preclinical work is likely before clinical trials will be considered.

For certain patients, focused ultrasound could provide a non-invasive alternative to surgery with less risk of complications and lower cost.


  • Non-invasive approach to fragment kidney stones
  • Unlikely to require anesthesia
  • Treatment is repeatable

Clinical Trials

At the present time, there are no clinical trials recruiting patients for focused ultrasound fragmentation of kidney stones.

Regulatory Approval and Reimbursement

Focused ultrasound fragmentation of kidney stones is not yet approved by regulatory bodies or covered by medical insurance companies.

Notable Papers

Ikeda T, Yoshizawa S, Koizumi N, Mitsuishi M, Matsumoto Y. Focused Ultrasound and Lithotripsy. Adv Exp Med Biol. 2016;880:113-29. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-22536-4_7. Review.

Wang YN, Simon JC, Cunitz BW, Starr FL, Paun M, Liggitt DH, Evan AP, McAteer JA, Liu Z, Dunmire B, Bailey MR. Focused ultrasound to displace renal calculi: threshold for tissue injury. J Ther Ultrasound. 2014 Mar 31;2:5. doi: 10.1186/2050-5736-2-5.

Connors BA, Evan AP, Blomgren PM, Hsi RS, Harper JD, Sorensen MD, Wang YN, Simon JC, Paun M, Starr F, Cunitz BW, Bailey MR, Lingeman JE. Comparison of tissue injury from focused ultrasonic propulsion of kidney stones versus extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. J Urol. 2014 Jan;191(1):235-41. doi: 10.1016/j.juro.2013.07.087.

Click here for additional references from PubMed.

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