The objective of this study is to identify any apoptotic effect of shock wave lithotripsy (SWL) for distal ureteral stones on ovarian tissue. Twenty-one female New Zealand White rabbits were divided into three groups of seven rabbits each: I (control), and II, III (treated and killed 14 and 28 days after SWL, respectively). The left distal ureteral segment of the anesthetized (ketamine HCl, 20 mg/kg) animals in groups II and III was exposed to 1,500 shock waves at 17 kV. Localization of the distal ureteral segments was achieved following contrast medium (Iohexol 300 mg of I/ml) injection. The animals were killed on day 14 or 28 after SWL, and the ovaries were removed. The follicle number with apoptotic changes in ovarian tissue was compared with control group. Apoptotic changes were determined by terminal deoxynucleotidyl transferase (TdT)-mediated dUTP nick end-labeling (TUNEL) method. No increased apoptosis was detected in all groups. The mean number of TUNEL-positive follicle in groups I, II and III was 9.3 +/- A 2.9, 8.1 +/- A 2.6 and 8.7 +/- A 2.9, respectively. There were no statistically significant differences among all groups regarding the number of TUNEL-positive follicle (P = 0.647). Also, no histomorphological change other than apoptosis was detected in the study groups. In conclusion, SWL treatment for distal ureteral stones does not induce apoptotic changes on ovarian tissue.