Why is holmium laser lithotripsy done?

It is an alternative to a procedure called extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. In that procedure, sound waves from outside the body are used to break up the stones. Holmium laser lithotripsy has been shown to be effective no matter the size, location, and/or hardness of stone. These are limiting factors for shockwave.

What should I do to prepare for holmium laser lithotripsy?

Check with your doctor to see if there are any medications you should avoid prior to the procedure. You will likely be asked to not eat or drink anything after midnight prior to the procedure.

What should I expect after holmium laser lithotripsy?

In addition to pain, you may have nausea and fatigue after having anesthesia. Follow all recommendations that your doctor provides in your discharge instructions.

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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