Who are Lithotripsy Technicians? What Do They Do?

Who are Lithotripsy Technicians? What Do They Do?
Who are Lithotripsy Technicians? What Do They Do?

Lithotripsy process treatment uses shock waves to break up kidney stones when they’re still inside our bodies, so that they can be safely excreted through the urinary tract and restore the normal renal function.

Who are Lithotripsy Technicians?

To help patients avoid intrusive surgical procedures, Lithotripsy techs will be operating the equipment emitting waves and ensuring the patients undergoing the procedure are carefully positioned. Lithotripsy will expose patients to radiation, so it is important that technicians calculate the doses very precisely, preventing cumulative X-ray radiation, which in turn does more harm than good.

Lithotripsy technologists will be connecting the patient to the monitoring equipment, observing their vital signs during the procedure, positioning them and placing the machine to target the stones. The responsibilities of a lithotripsy tech are also included in the follow-up care, as well as monitor patient’s state after the procedure.

Lithotripsy Technician scope of practice

Lithotripsy Technician will be guiding the equipment in the direction on the kidney stones, targeting them precisely. In a common session, technicians will begin with a lower setting and gradually increase the intensity of the rays. In case of severe pain, Lithotripsy Tech must remain focused on the image of the stone and the power level of the machine to a tolerable degree. Sometimes, they must also monitor the patient’s vital signs, though this is often the duty of a nurse or physician. Beside their role in the lithotripsy procedure, their responsibility also includes:

  • Conduct examinations prior to the procedures, determining whether an operation should be performed immediately
  • Schedule the procedures for patients and inform other specialists of the date
  • Assist nursing staff to counsel and educate patients and families about the procedures
  • Perform initial testing to make sure the machines and tools are functioning correctly
  • Refer any treatment questions to physicians before proceeding with the examination
  • Determining the procedures specifics with a physician, for example the number of shocks
Lithotripsy Technician scope of practice
Lithotripsy Technician scope of practice
  • Maintain and manage the equipment as well as the procedure room to ensure a clean, safe and pleasant environment
  • Alert the care units about patients’ arrival and status
  • Ensures the pre and post procedure reports are filed and compiled for future references
  • Explain to patients about the follow-up care
  • Consult with other specialist such as radiologist or urologist on patient’s conditions and requirements to perform examinations on unusual cases

Lithotripsy Technician Education

Beginning your lithotripsy career starts as X-ray technicians or in a related diagnostic imaging specialty. There are 2 ways to start your Lithotripsy Technician. You can start by earning a bachelor’s degree and getting a certificate in lithotripsy, which would take six to 12 months to complete. However, there’s another route of earning a two-year associate’s degree in radiology. Either way, through training, they’ll be educated on anatomy, image evaluation, pathology and radiation safety.

Lithotripsy Technician Education
Lithotripsy Technician Education

Depending on the regulations and policies of each state, candidates will also be required to take an examination in addition to the RRT exam. Further studies and certification on renal lithotripsy can be acquired on the job, through the provided programs. Most certification for lithotripsy is usually accredited by the Council for Urological Interests.

Qualities of a Lithotripsy Technician

Acquiring the Lithotripsy Technician degree isn’t very difficult or enduring, but to become a good tech, you should possess more than just knowledge. A technician must be flexible, organized, and independent. Since for the most part of the procedure, they’ll be performing them on their own, it is crucial that they have good judgement and common sense, to be able to relieve any emergent situation. Working with machines, Lithotripsy Technicians must be tech-savvy and with physicians, doctors and nurses, good communication is also required.

Lithotripsy Technician career prospect

Lithotripsy Technician earns a median wage of $86,923 per year, according to research from the Labor Statistics. Additionally, Lithotripsy Technician will also experience a growth of 9% from 2020 to 2030, in the same category as Radiologic Technician.


Starting a career as a lithotripsy technician means a bright future for your radiology career, since not only will you be learning about how to safely administer radioactive rays, you’ll also be learning about the basics of urology. If you’d like to explore more about the radiology field, here are 5 commonly confused careers.