The Wolf Piezolith 2000 is an extracorporeal piezoelectric-based shock wave unit which employs a significantly different source of shock wave generation from previous units. Three thousand piezoceramic crystals are utilized in this lithotripter. The crystals are fixed to a spherical disk and each is focused at the center point of the “sphere.” Because no precursorial shock wave is present, because of a center focal point for the shock wave, and because of the lower pressure of shock wave in this machine, the patient feels no pain and it is possible to treat without any kind of anesthesia, including IV sedation.
As long as the rate of shock wave generation is less than ten shocks per second, the treatment is without pain. A positive aspect of this machine is that because the patient lies still, the image is stable. The unit is used on an outpatient basis at St. Mary’s Hospital through the Mayo Clinic. It is anticipated that virtually all patients will be treated on an outpatient basis. The machine currently is being used on an investigational basis.