We performed extracorporeally induced destruction of kidney stones on 72 patients. No complications have resulted from the tissue exposure to high energy shock waves. Clearance studies before and after the shock wave treatment indicate no changes in renal function. The method was used successfully in all patients with stones in the renal pelvis. In none of these patients was an open operation required. Two patients with ureteral stones also were treated with shock waves but had to be operated upon because of insufficient destruction of the stone.