In some cases stones are treated with a laser powered device that uses short pulses of light energy to generate shock waves that break the stones. Laser Lithotripsy is often most effective on smaller, but painfully symptomatic, stones. The laser energy is brought to the stone by the use of the light fiber within a scope inserted through the bladder and into the ureter.
The Holmium Laser generates a very powerful shock wave from the end of a small and very flexible fiber which under direct vision can be guided to the obstructing stone. Under direct vision the energy is transferred precisely from the probe to the stone. The pulse waves formed by the Holmium laser effectively fragment all types of ureteral, bladder, and kidney stones including hard calcium oxalate monohydrate and cystine stones.
What is a laser?
Laser is an acronym which stands for Light Amplification by Stimulated Omissions of Radiation. Energy is amplified to extremely high intensity by an atomic process called Stimulated Emission. The term "radiation" is often misinterpreted because the term is also used to describe radioactive material or ionizing radiation. The use of the word in this context, however, refers to an energy transfer.
Holmium Lasers are in the infrared spectrum, meaning that they are invisible to the human eye. Therefore, to allow the surgeon to see where the laser beam is aiming, a light that is visible is combined with the Holmium beam. This allows for effective and safe lithotripsy which yields a high stone free rate.
What Can I expect after Treatment
Laser or Pneumatic Lithotripsy is usually done as an outpatient procedure. Most people are able to go home the same day of the procedure. If it is necessary to stay in the hospital, the stay is usually no more than 24 to 48 hours.
During recovery at home, call your surgeon immediately if you have:
- Sudden pain
- Nausea or vomiting