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Published August 2009 | public
Journal Article

Kidney damage in extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy: a numerical approach for different shock profiles


In shock-wave lithotripsy—a medical procedure to fragment kidney stones—the patient is subjected to hypersonic waves focused at the kidney stone. Although this procedure is widely applied, the physics behind this medical treatment, in particular the question of how the injuries to the surrounding kidney tissue arise, is still under investigation. To contribute to the solution of this problem, two- and three-dimensional numerical simulations of a human kidney under shock-wave loading are presented. For this purpose a constitutive model of the bio-mechanical system kidney is introduced, which is able to map large visco-elastic deformations and, in particular, material damage. The specific phenomena of cavitation induced oscillating bubbles is modeled here as an evolution of spherical pores within the soft kidney tissue. By means of large scale finite element simulations, we study the shock-wave propagation into the kidney tissue, adapt unknown material parameters and analyze the resulting stress states. The simulations predict localized damage in the human kidney in the same regions as observed in animal experiments. Furthermore, the numerical results suggest that in first instance the pressure amplitude of the shock wave impulse (and not so much its exact time-pressure profile) is responsible for damaging the kidney tissue.

Additional Information

© 2009 Springer. Received: 2 November 2007 Accepted: 26 July 2008 Published online: 18 September 2008. The work was in part founded by the NIH grant #DK55674. The authors gratefully acknowledge the support.

Additional details

August 21, 2023
October 18, 2023