What are the advantages of using holmium laser lithotripsy?

Compared to extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, holmium laser lithotripsy has been shown to reduce the chance of steinstrasse. This is a complication of extracorporeal shock lithotripsy in which fragments of the stones block the ureter.

The procedure has been shown to be effective for a patient with multiple stones.

What is a disadvantage of holmium laser lithotripsy?

Holmium laser lithotripsy requires general anesthesia. For this reason, there is a hospital stay and higher costs compared to extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy.

What are some complications of holmium laser lithotripsy?

  • Pain
  • Blood in urine
  • Trouble urinating
  • Injury to the ureters

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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