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Holmium laser lithotripsy can usually be done as an outpatient procedure, but sometimes it can involve a short hospital stay. You will receive general anesthesia, so you’ll snooze right through it.
Dr. B-T will pass the scope through the urine channel to the bladder and then into the ureter (the tube that carries urine from the kidney to the bladder). Occasionally, such as with a persistent stone that has failed ESWL), he will continue up into the kidney.
When he finds a stone, the blasting begins! Dr. B-T will use the laser to blast the stone into tiny bits, exactly like the video game Asteroids. (Remember that one?)
The length of the procedure varies depending on the location and number of stones. You will spend a few hours in recovery, and then most patients go home the same day.
A ureteral stent is a thin tube that Dr. Rich Bevan-Thomas will place in the ureter — the tube from the kidney to the bladder — during your procedure. Think of it as a tiny straw that keeps the ureter open and allows urine and stone fragments to pass into the bladder more easily.
And yes, you will go home with one. Your ureter is likely to be irritated and can swell after the procedure, making urinating difficult and uncomfortable. Trust us on this one — you’ll be a lot more comfortable with the stent.
All surgical procedures have risks, but complications are rare for this procedure. The most common side effects (but not all) are: