What is holmium laser lithotripsy?

Holmium laser lithotripsy is a method for using lasers to remove stones that are located in the urinary tract. This could include stones in the bladder, kidneys, ureters (tubes that carry urine from the kidneys to the bladder), or urethra (tube through which urine leaves the body). A flexible laser fiber is inserted through the urethra to break up the stones. The procedure is completed without any incisions.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/25/2016.


  • National Center for Biotechnology Information. Comparison of ESWL and Ureteroscopic Holmium Laser lithotripsy in Management of Ureteral Stones Accessed 7/28/2016.
  • Kidneystoners.org. Ureteroscopy Accessed 7/28/2016.
  • National Kidney Foundation. Lithotripsy Accessed 7/28/2016.
  • Feng, C., Wu, Z., Jiang, H., Ding, Q., & Gao, P. (2013). Ureteroscopic Holmium:YAG laser lithotripsy is effective for ureteral steinstrasse post-SWL. Minimally Invasive Therapy & Allied Technologies, 22(5), 279-282. doi:10.3109/13645706.2012.762026
  • Jeon, S. S., Hyun, J., & Lee, K. (2005). A comparison of holmium:YAG laser with Lithoclast lithotripsy in ureteral calculi fragmentation. International Journal of Urology Int J Urol, 12(6), 544-547. doi:10.1111/j.1442-2042.2005.01087.
  • Takazawa, R., Kitayama, S., & Tsujii, T. (2012). Single-session ureteroscopy with holmium laser lithotripsy for multiple stones. International Journal of Urology, 19(12), 1118-1121. doi:10.1111/j.1442-2042.2012.03113.

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