Holmium laser lithotripsy has been shown to be effective no matter the size, location and/or hardness of stone.
It's an alternative to a procedure called extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy. In that procedure, sound waves from outside the body are used to break up the stones. Holmium laser lithotripsy is effective no matter the size, location, and hardness of the stone. These factors limit the shockwave lithotripsy's effectiveness.
Holmium laser lithotripsy uses lasers to break 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 (the tube through which urine leaves the body from the bladder). A flexible laser fiber is inserted through a scope (camera) placed in the urinary tract via the urethra to break up the stones. The stone fragments are then removed with a small basket or other instruments. The procedure is done without any incisions (cuts).