The Early History of Lithotripsy

In 1813, Bavarian doctor Franz von Paula Gruithuisen (1774-1852) designed a straight metal cannula which could be passed into the bladder, together with a loop of brass wire to lasso the stone to the open end of the cannula so that it could be perforated by a spike-ended drill worked by a bow.

The following years a number of European surgeons and their instrument makers worked on the construction of stone-crushing instruments. Most of these instruments could not be used with patients. According to the literature, competition among surgeons was fierce. Parisian surgeons like Pierre Salomon Ségalas (1792-1875), Baron Charles Stanislas Heurteloup (1793-1864), Jean-Jacques-Joseph Leroy D’Etiolles (1798-1860) and Jean Civiale (1792-1867) seemed to work in constant competition against one another in order to improve the handling and effectiveness of stone-crushing instrumentation.