What is Intracorporeal?

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Intracorporeal means inside the body (as opposed to extracorporeal or outside of the body).


  • Intracorporeal anastomosis could refer to connections between blood vessels or other tubular structures inside the body. 
  • The intracorporeal vascular network is a system that helps maintain our cardiovascular health.

When discussing intracorporeal vs extracorporeal, extracorporeal shockwave therapies allow doctors and patients to avoid the risks and hospitalization otherwise required by intracorporeal treatment. Because intracorporeal means invasive, intracorporeal procedures carry the same risks as any surgery, such as bleeding, infection, organ injury, or thromboembolic disease.

Typically, a urologist must assess the patient to determine if intracorporeal lithotripsy is necessary or if there are other options to break up the calculi. Larger stones, at least 2.5 cm (~1 inch), may not be treatable with Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL). Cysteine and calcium oxalate monohydrate stones are not treated by ESWL. 

In general, stone disease management requires a low-cost option because once a patient forms a kidney stone, it’s highly likely he will have another one in the future. If a patient starts having stones at a young age and lives to be 80, there is a significant cost involved in his treatment. Luckily, ESWL is an optimal treatment method – both in terms of low cost and low radiation exposure. 

Additionally, ESWL offers the opportunity to diagnose and treat faster with a Flat Panel Detector; it provides a clear, contrasting image – saving patient and practitioner valuable time and money.

One strong advantage of extracorporeal – it is the most suitable for treating infants and children, pediatric patients. Intracorporeal therapies are simply not possible for babies.

Intracorporeal lithotripsy uses an intravasive endoscope to create fragments of the calculi within or inside the body. 

Related Vocabulary to Explore 




  1. Arguments for choosing extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy for removal of urinary tract stones | SpringerLink
  2. Future ‘Exceedingly Bright’ for Kidney Stone Prevention (
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