Holmium Laser Lithotripsy

November 12, 2012

Holmium Laser Lithotripsy

Laser lithotripsy is a minimally-invasive endoscopic procedure that is used to remove kidney stones, and provide immediate relief from the symptoms. This popular technique is performed under general anesthesia and most patients can go home the same day.

Laser Lithotripsy Procedure

During the laser lithotripsy, your doctor will use a small endoscopy tube to enter your body and get close to the stone. He will then insert a thin fiber through the endoscope. This fiber emits laser rays, which comes in contact with the stones and breaks them into smaller pieces. These pieces can be eventually flushed out of the body. The laser rays are directed specifically towards the stones, and do not affect any other part of the body.

Advantages of Laser Lithotripsy


ore and more doctors are using laser lithotripsy to treat kidney stones today. The reasons for its increasing popularity include:

  • Patients experience immediate relief from symptoms such as back and abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and blood in urine.

  • The procedure is simple to perform and involves minimal invasion. Most patients can, therefore, go home the same day.

  • This procedure can help dissolve all types of kidney stones including those made of calcium, struvite, uric acid and cysteine.

  • Laser Lithotripsy has a success rate of 95 percent after a single procedure. Hence, patients are saved from multiple procedures and hospital visits.


Most Laser Lithotripsy procedures are safe. However, it may be more risky than the extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. Common complications include more than one round of treatments to remove the small stone pieces that were left in the kidneys. It may also cause bleeding around the kidneys that make require blood transfusion. The remaining stone pieces can also block the flow of urine and cause severe pain or blockage. A thin stent may be placed in the body after laser lithotripsy to prevent the blockage of the urine flow.

After Care

Most patients can go home about 2 hours after the procedure. You should remember to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water per day to flush out any remaining stone pieces from the body. You may experience nausea for a few weeks, especially when remaining pieces move out of the body. Some patients may require antibiotics or anti-inflammatory medications after the procedure. Do not miss the follow-up appointments with your doctor. Your doctor may look for any complications that may have occurred as a result of laser lithotripsy.

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