Laser lithotripsy was invented at Wellman Center for Photomedicine in the 1980s to remove impacted stones from the urinary tract. Laser pulses delivered through a fiber optic are used to pulverize the stone, avoiding surgery. The technology was licensed to Candela Corporation, which produced the first commercial laser lithotripsy system.
A urologist inserts a scope into the urinary tract to locate the stone. The type of the scope may be cystoscope, ureteroscope, renoscope or nephroscope. A laser fiber is inserted through the working channel of the scope, and laser is directly emitted to the stone. The stone is disintegrated and the remaining pieces are washed out of the urinary tract.
This procedure is widely available in most hospitals in the world.
- "Research Discoveries". Wellman Center for Photomedicine. Retrieved 30 April 2011.