Laser lithotripsy is a procedure that has been used recently to break up kidney and ureter stones, and it is a more effective alternative to shock wave lithotripsy.
The fragmentation of urinary stones through laser has been very popular recently, as the laser can effectively affect large stones without apparent complications or risks. It is a minimally invasive procedure using a ureteroscope without making surgical incisions.
Studies often compare laser lithotripsy with shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), and although both perform the same function (lithotripsy), there are some differences between the two methods. Continue with us to learn about the benefits and harms of laser lithotripsy with a price operation in Turkey.
How to perform laser lithotripsy
The technique of fragmentation of kidney stones using laser was used for the first time in 1980 by doctors from a hospital located in the United States of America, and since then this technique has been developed and modernized to become more efficient and less dangerous with very few side effects.
This procedure involves inserting a fiber-optic device capable of generating laser waves into the urinary tract by using Ureteroscope which is equipped with a camera that enables the surgeon to accurately locate the stones to be broken up into precise parts by shining laser light with specific specifications directly at the stones.
Through this technique, the doctor can break up the kidney and ureter stones, in addition to the stones of the urethra. After completing the fragmentation, the crushed parts of the stones are collected in a basket inserted through endoscopy; the remaining stones are thrown out when the patient urinates.
The patient is given either local or general anesthesia during the laser lithotripsy procedure. The entire procedure usually takes about half an hour, and most patients can go home the same day after the anesthesia wears off.
When do we resort to laser lithotripsy?
The incidence of kidney stones has increased significantly in our current era due to many factors, the most important of which is obesity and a modern lifestyle, in addition to a diet that is low in fiber and high in salt. All of these factors may contribute to the formation of stones, but not all need to be broken up, large stones may obstruct the urinary tract, which is accompanied by severe pain and the possibility of kidney damage when neglecting treatment; read more about kidney stones.
We resort to laser lithotripsy to treat and break up symptomatic stones that do not respond to drug treatment, in addition to the difficulty of breaking them up with ultrasonic waves because they have specifications that make them difficult to break up, such as their large size, location of the stone, and the hardness of the stones. Laser wave lithotripsy surgery has proven its effectiveness in treating all stones of the kidneys and urinary tract of different specifications; you can read about the process. Ultrasound lithotripsy of kidney stones.
Benefits of laser lithotripsy
Laser lithotripsy of the kidneys and ureter has many advantages when compared with shock wave lithotripsy, which makes it a preferred procedure; among these features are the following:
- Higher success rates
- Better and more effective against large pebbles
- Preferred in patients with multiple stones
Disadvantages of laser lithotripsy
The risk of some complications and damages resulting from an operation cannot be ruled out Laser lithotripsyAlthough rare, any medical intervention is associated with some risks, including in this case:
- Drops of blood with urine or more than it was before
- Injury to part of the urinary tract
- Urinary tract infection due to transmission of infection
- Feeling pain and burning sensation when urinating
- The need to perform the surgery again to remove the rest of the stones
Tips before performing laser lithotripsy
Before breaking up the urinary stones, your doctor will perform some laboratory tests to determine the type of stone, in addition to radiological and imaging tests such as CT scan To know the exact size and location of the stones before starting the procduer of breaking up the kidney stones.
Your doctor will give you instructions and advice about preparing before you undergo the operation, and he will ask you about the medications you are taking. He may ask you to stop or adjust one of these medications before doing the procedure.
You must refrain from eating or drinking for a period of at least 12 hours before the operation, for fear of food returning back and choking during anesthesia.
It is recommended to take a family member with you to drive you home after the operation, due to the temporary effects of anesthesia, such as dizziness and nausea, that prevent you from driving a car.
After laser lithotripsy
After you wake up from the anesthetic, your doctor will monitor your vital signs, such as your heart rate and breathing rate, to ensure that your health is stable, with no complications resulting from the procedure, and determine if you are ready to go home.
You do not need to worry if you notice blood appearing in the urine in the first days after the operation. This is normal as long as the amount of blood is not too much. It may take several weeks to remove all the remaining stones during urination.
You may also feel pain in your back, specifically around the flank, in the days following the procedure. This is expected and can be relieved using pain-relieving medications such as ibuprofen. Some people may notice slight skin redness around the flanks where the laser is applied.
The patient may need a week before returning to his normal daily activities. The recovery period may be longer or shorter, depending on each patient's condition. The doctor will determine the recovery time necessary after the surgery.
The price of laser lithotripsy in Turkey
The cost varies according to the condition and the number and size of the stones. The price of laser kidney stone surgery in Turkey usually ranges from 3400 to 4500 US dollars, which remains low compared to other countries.
Laser lithotripsy is one of the latest surgical procedures used to eliminate urinary tract stones and break them entirely without causing complications or accompanying side effects. It makes it worth trying.