Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy is a rather new therapeutical method in the treatment of sialolithiasis. The objective was to evaluate retrospectively the results of the extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy therapy performed with a Minilith SL 1 lithotripter on 167 out-patients with symptomatic stones (average size 5.94 mm) of the salivary glands over an observation period of seven years. A successful treatment with total stone disintegration was achieved in 51 (31 per cent) patients. In 92 (55 per cent) patients treatment was partially successful, with disappearance of the symptoms but a sonographically still identifiable stone. Treatment failure occurred in 24 (14 per cent) patients who then underwent surgery. The mean follow-up period was 35.6 months (minimum three, maximum 83), after which 83.2 per cent of the initially successfully treated patients were still free of symptoms.Therefore, extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, as a non-invasive treatment alternative with few side effects, is an efficient technique for the therapy of sialolithiasis in selected patients.