Laser lithotripsy

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Laser lithotripsy

Laser lithotripsy is a surgical procedure to remove stones from urinary tract, i.e., kidney, ureter, bladder, or urethra.[citation needed]


Laser lithotripsy was invented at the Wellman Center for Photo medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital in the 1980s to remove impacted urinary stones. Optical fibers carry light pulses that pulverize the stone. Candela licensed the technology and released the first commercial laser lithotripsy system.[1][better source needed] Initially 504 nm dye lasers were used, then holmium lasers were studied in the 1990s.[citation needed]


A urologist inserts a scope into the urinary tract to locate the stone. The scope may be a cystoscope, ureteroscope, renoscope or nephroscope. An optical fiber is inserted through the working channel of the scope, and laser light is directly emitted to the stone. The stone is fragmented and the remaining pieces are collected in a "basket" and/or washed out of the urinary tract, along with the finer particulate "dust."[citation needed]

The procedure is done under either local or general anesthesia and is considered a minimally-invasive procedure. It is widely available in most hospitals in the world.


Laser lithotripsy (LL) has been evaluated against Extracorporeal Shock Wave lithotripsy (ESWL), finding both to be safe and effective.[2][3] ESWL may be safer for small stones (<10 mm), but less effective for 10–20 mm stones.[2] A 2013 meta-analysis found LL can treat larger stones (> 2 cm) with good stone-free and complication rates.[4]

Holmium laser lithotripsy had superior initial success and re-treatment rate compared to extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in a 2013 trial.[5]

The experimental thulium fiber laser (TFL) is being studied as a potential alternative to the holmium:YAG (Ho:YAG) laser for the treatment of kidney stones. The TFL has several potential advantages compared to Ho:YAG laser for lithotripsy, including a four times lower ablation threshold, a near single-mode beam profile, and higher pulse rates, resulting in up to four times as fast ablation rates and faster procedural times.[6]


Pulsed dye lasers have been used with fiber diameters of 200–550 microns[7] for lithotripsy of biliary and urinary stones.[8]

Ho:YAG lasers have wavelength of 2100 nm (infrared) and are used for medical procedures in urology and other areas. They have qualities of CO2 and Nd:Yag lasers, with ablative and coagulation effects.[9] Holmium laser use results in smaller fragments than 320 or 365 micron pulsed dye lasers or electrohydraulic and mechanical methods.[10]

Thulium fiber lasers are being investigated.[11][12][6][13][14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Research Discoveries". Wellman Center for Photomedicine. Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
  2. ^ a b Kumar A, Vasudeva P, Nanda B, Kumar N, Das MK, Jha SK (Nov 18, 2014). "A Prospective Randomized Comparison Between Shock Wave Lithotripsy and Flexible Ureterorenoscopy for Lower Caliceal Stones ≤2 cm: A Single-Center Experience". J. Endourol. 29 (5): 575–579. doi:10.1089/end.2013.0473. PMID 25203489.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ Cecen K, Karadag MA, Demir A, Bagcioglu M, Kocaaslan R, Sofikerim M (Sep 24, 2014). "Flexible Ureterorenoscopy versus Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy for the treatment of upper/middle calyx kidney stones of 10-20 mm: a retrospective analysis of 174 patients". SpringerPlus. 3: 557. doi:10.1186/2193-1801-3-557. PMC 4190185. PMID 25332859.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  4. ^ Aboumarzouk OM, Monga M, Kata SG, Traxer O, Somani BK (Oct 2012). "Flexible ureteroscopy and laser lithotripsy for stones >2 cm: a systematic review and meta-analysis". J. Endourol. 26 (10): 1257–63. doi:10.1089/end.2012.0217. PMID 22642568.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Khalil M (Apr 2013). "Management of impacted proximal ureteral stone: Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy versus ureteroscopy with holmium: YAG laser lithotripsy". Urol. Ann. 5 (2): 88–92. doi:10.4103/0974-7796.110004. PMC 3685752. PMID 23798864.
  6. ^ a b Hardy, L.A; Wilson, C.R.; Irby, P.B.; Fried, N.M. (2014). "Rapid Vaporization of Kidney Stones, Ex Vivo, Using a Thulium Fiber Laser Operated at Pulse Rates up to 500 Hz Using a Stone Basket". Proceedings of the SPIE. 8926: 89261H. CiteSeerX doi:10.1117/12.2037263. S2CID 121794649.
  7. ^ Grasso M, Bagley DH (Feb 1994). "Endoscopic pulsed-dye laser lithotripsy: 159 consecutive cases". J. Endourol. 8 (1): 25–7. doi:10.1089/end.1994.8.25. PMID 8186779.
  8. ^ Grasso M, Bagley D, Sullivan K (October 1991). "Pulsed dye laser lithotripsy--currently applied to urologic and biliary calculi". J. Clin. Laser Med. Surg. 9 (5): 355–9. doi:10.1089/clm.1991.9.355. PMID 10150133.
  9. ^ Chun SS, Razvi HA, Denstedt JD (Winter 1995). "Laser prostatectomy with the holmium: YAG laser". Tech. Urol. 1 (4): 217–21. PMID 9118394.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. ^ Teichman Joel M.H. (January 1998). "Holmium:YAG lithotripsy yields smaller fragments than lithoclast, pulsed dye laser or electrohydraulic lithotripsy". J. Urol. 159 (1): 17–23. doi:10.1016/s0022-5347(01)63998-3. PMID 9400428.
  11. ^ Wilson CR, Hardy LA, Irby PB, Fried NM (July 2015). "Collateral damage to the ureter and Nitinol stone baskets during thulium fiber laser lithotripsy". Lasers Surg. Med. 47 (5): 403–10. doi:10.1002/lsm.22348. PMID 25872759. S2CID 35302695.
  12. ^ Wilson CR, Hutchens TC, Hardy LA, Irby PB, Fried NM (October 2015). "A Miniaturized, 1.9F Integrated Optical Fiber and Stone Basket for Use in Thulium Fiber Laser Lithotripsy". J. Endourol. 29 (10): 1110–4. doi:10.1089/end.2015.0124. PMID 26167738.
  13. ^ Hardy L.A, Wilson C.R., Irby P.B., Fried N.M. (2014). "Thulium fiber laser lithotripsy in an in vitro ureter model". J. Biomed. Opt. 19 (12): 128001. doi:10.1117/1.jbo.19.12.128001. PMID 25518001. S2CID 12424266.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ Blackmon R.L., Hutchens T.C., Hardy L.A., Wilson C.R., Irby P.B., Fried N.M. (2015). "Thulium fiber laser ablation of kidney stones using a 50-μm-core silica optical fiber". Opt. Eng. 54 (1): 011004. doi:10.1117/1.oe.54.1.011004. S2CID 120650738.{{cite journal}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)