Kidney Stone Laser Treatment - Surgery Procedure, Recovery

Medically Reviewed by Dr. Aman Priya Khanna
Written by Charu Shrivastava, last updated on 4 July 2024| min read
Kidney Stone Laser Treatment - Surgery Procedure, Recovery

Quick Summary

  • Kidney stone laser treatment is a minimally invasive procedure that uses laser energy to break up kidney stones.
  • The procedure is performed under general anesthesia and typically takes about an hour.
  • Patients typically go home the same day as the procedure and are able to resume normal activities within a few days.

Many patients actively seek out a highly effective kidney stone laser treatment as their preferred intervention method. To minimise invasiveness and maximising efficiency, patients extensively research and explore options to address renal calculi, known as kidney stones, through advanced laser technology.  

Understanding the pain and discomfort caused by renal calculi, individuals are eager to explore kidney stone laser operations to alleviate their symptoms. Read on to explore all the nuances of the treatment.

About Kidney Stone Laser Treatment

Kidney or ureter stones can vary in size, with some being small enough to pass unnoticed in urine, while others can cause discomfort and block urine flow. Stones can damage the kidneys and urinary system if they cannot pass naturally. In cases where medications are ineffective, laser procedures can be used for kidney stone treatment.

Laser treatment has emerged as a preferred choice due to its precision and effectiveness in breaking kidney stones into smaller fragments. By utilising advanced laser technology, this procedure minimises the need for surgical intervention and promotes faster recovery.

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Principles Behind Kidney Stone Laser Treatment

The general principles behind kidney stone laser removal revolve around achieving specific goals and considering various factors. Here are the key principles:

  1. Goals of Surgical Therapy: The main aim of kidney stone laser treatment is to alleviate the discomfort experienced by patients, eliminate any infections that may be present, and enhance kidney function that may have been affected by the presence of stones. 

  2. Treatment Success: The effectiveness of laser treatment for stone surgery is generally determined by achieving a "stone-free" status, which refers to the complete removal of stones or the presence of only small residual stone fragments. 

  3. Risk of Complications: When evaluating the option of laser treatment for kidney stones, it is crucial to consider both the benefits and potential risks or complications associated with the procedure. 

    Laser treatment, known for its effectiveness in fragmenting kidney stones, offers several advantages. However, it is important to acknowledge that potential risks are involved, like any medical procedure.
  1. Quality of Life: Kidney stone laser treatment aims to enhance the patient's quality of life by alleviating pain and preventing future symptomatic stone episodes. 

Types of Kidney Stone Laser Treatment

Different types of kidney stone laser treatments are available, including Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery (RIRS) and Flexible Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy (FURSL).

Retrograde Intrarenal Surgery (RIRS)

RIRS is a minimally invasive procedure used to treat kidney stones located within the renal pelvis (area at the centre of the kidney) or calyces (cup-shaped drain inside the kidney). It involves passing a thin, flexible ureteroscope through the urethra, bladder, and into the kidney. 

A laser fibre is inserted through the ureteroscope to break the stones into smaller fragments, which are removed or passed naturally through urine. 

RIRS is known for its high success rate in treating larger stones and offers the advantage of avoiding external incisions.

Flexible Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy (FURSL)

FURSL, or Flexible Ureteroscopy with Laser Lithotripsy, is another effective kidney stone laser treatment. This procedure involves using a flexible ureteroscope to access and visualise the stone within the ureter or renal pelvis. 

This procedure is performed by doctors using a ureteroscope. A laser fibre is inserted through the ureteroscope to deliver laser energy, breaking the stone into smaller fragments. 

The fragmented stones can then be removed or allowed to pass naturally. FURSL is particularly suitable for treating smaller stones located in the ureter and offers minimal discomfort and a shorter recovery period.

How is Kidney Stone Laser Treatment Performed?

RIRS and FURSL are advanced procedures utilising laser energy to break down kidney stones. These minimally invasive techniques offer effective stone fragmentation and removal, with reduced risks and shorter recovery periods than traditional surgical approaches. 

Both procedures take about 1 to 2 hours to complete. The steps involved in both procedures are similar. These steps are as follows.

  1. Before surgery, the patient is given general anaesthesia to ensure they are comfortable and pain-free.

  2. A thin, flexible tube with a camera and light (ureteroscope) is inserted through the urethra, bladder, and the affected kidney.

  3. The surgeon uses the camera to locate and identify the stone.

  4. Once the stones are identified, a laser fibre is passed through the ureteroscope. The laser energy is then used to break the stone into smaller fragments. 

  5. After the stone has been broken down into smaller pieces, the surgeon may use various techniques to remove the fragments.
    These may include basket retrieval, suction, or allowing the fragments to pass naturally through urine.

Post-Treatment Care and Recovery

After undergoing a kidney stone laser operation, proper post-treatment care and recovery play a crucial role in ensuring a successful outcome. 

This phase focuses on supporting the healing process, managing discomfort, and preventing the recurrence of kidney stones. Adhering to post-treatment guidelines and following a healthy lifestyle can promote recovery and minimise the chances of future stone formation.

Immediate Post-operative Care and Monitoring 

Patients require immediate post-operative care and monitoring after kidney stone laser treatment to ensure proper recovery. This includes:

  1. Observation: Patients are closely monitored in a recovery area to assess their vital signs, pain levels, and overall condition following the procedure.

  2. Pain Management: Medication for pain may be prescribed to alleviate any discomfort or pain experienced after the surgery.

  3. Hydration: Adequate hydration is essential to promote urine flow and flush out any remaining stone fragments, and patients are highly advised to drink plenty of water unless otherwise advised by their healthcare provider.

Dietary and Lifestyle Recommendations

Patients are advised to make certain dietary & lifestyle modifications to minimise the risk of stone recurrence. These recommendations may include:

  1. Increased Fluid Intake: Patients are encouraged to drink ample water and fluids throughout the day to maintain proper hydration. Sufficient hydration helps prevent the formation of new stones.

  2. Balanced Diet: A well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains is recommended. It's advisable to limit the intake of foods high in oxalate (e.g., spinach, rhubarb, nuts) and sodium (e.g., processed foods, table salt) as they can contribute to stone formation.

  3. Reduced Animal Protein: Limit the intake of animal protein, like red meat, poultry, and fish, to reduce the risk of kidney stones.

  4. Sodium Reduction: Lowering sodium intake is crucial, as high sodium levels can increase calcium levels in the urine, promoting stone formation.
    Patients should avoid excessive salt and read food labels for hidden sodium content.

  5. Medication Compliance: If prescribed medications, such as thiazide diuretics or potassium citrate, patients should adhere to their medication regimen as directed by their healthcare provider.

Follow-up Appointments and Monitoring of Kidney Health 

Regular follow-up appointments and kidney health monitoring are important to assess treatment success, prevent complications, and detect any stone recurrence or related issues. This may involve:

  1. Imaging Studies: Periodic imaging studies, such as kidney ultrasound or CT scans, may be performed to evaluate the status of the kidneys, check for stone recurrence, and monitor overall kidney health.

  2. Urine and Blood Tests: Urine tests may be conducted to analyse urine composition and identify any factors contributing to stone formation.
    Blood tests, such as serum creatinine, can assess kidney function and overall health.

  3. Consultation with a Urologist: Patients are advised to schedule regular check-ups with their urologist to discuss their progress, address any concerns, and receive personalised guidance on stone prevention strategies.

Patients need to follow the specific post-treatment care instructions provided by their healthcare provider and consult them for any concerns or questions regarding their recovery process.

Benefits of Kidney Stone Laser Treatment

Laser therapy is becoming increasingly popular due to its convenience and speed. Here are some benefits of selecting laser treatment over surgical surgery are listed below:

  1. Reduced Pain: Laser treatment for kidney stones is a minimally invasive procedure that involves smaller incisions or no incisions at all. 

    1. This results in less tissue trauma and postoperative pain than traditional open surgeries. 

    2. Patients often experience milder discomfort and can manage their pain more effectively during recovery.

  2. Lower Risk of Future Stone Formation: Laser treatment removes existing kidney stones and addresses the underlying factors contributing to stone formation. 

    1. By targeting and breaking down the stones, laser treatment helps reduce the risk of future stone formation and recurrence, providing long-term benefits for the patient's overall health and well-being.

  3. Faster Recovery Time: The minimally invasive nature of laser treatment contributes to a faster recovery than traditional surgical approaches. 

    1. With smaller or no incisions, patients experience less body trauma, allowing them to heal more quickly and resume their daily routines sooner.

  4. Improves Local Blood Circulation: The application of laser energy during the treatment can stimulate blood flow in the targeted area. 

    1. Improved circulation helps deliver oxygen and nutrients to the tissues, promoting healing and facilitating the removal of metabolic waste products. 

    2. Enhanced blood circulation can also aid in reducing inflammation and promoting tissue regeneration.

  5. Causes No Blood Loss: Laser treatment is bloodless as it does not involve major surgical incisions. 

    1. The laser energy is directed precisely at the kidney stones, breaking them down into smaller fragments without causing significant bleeding. 

    2. This eliminates the need for blood transfusions and reduces the associated risks and complications.

  6. Precise Stone Targeting: Laser technology used in kidney stone treatment allows for precisely targeting the stones. This ensures efficient and accurate fragmentation of the stones without causing harm to the surrounding healthy tissues. 

    1. The precise targeting helps effectively break down the stones into smaller fragments for easier removal.

  7. Safer Alternative To Surgery: Laser treatment offers a safer alternative to traditional open surgeries for kidney stones. 

    1. It is a less invasive approach that minimises the risk of complications such as infection, damage to surrounding organs, and excessive bleeding. 

    2. The precision of laser energy allows for targeted stone fragmentation while preserving healthy tissues, enhancing the procedure's overall safety.

  8. Cost-Effective: Laser treatment can be a cost-effective option for kidney stone removal.

    1. It typically requires shorter hospital stays, reduces the need for extensive post-operative care, and facilitates faster recovery than open surgeries. 

    2. These factors contribute to potential cost savings for patients, making laser treatment a more economical choice in some cases.

  9. Minimally Invasive: Laser treatment for kidney stones is considered minimally invasive because it involves small or no incisions. 

    1. This approach leads to less pain, minimal scarring, and a quicker recovery than traditional open surgeries, allowing patients to return to their normal activities sooner.

  10. Versatility: Laser technology is highly versatile and can treat kidney stones of varying sizes and compositions. 

    1. This versatility makes it a suitable treatment option for different types of kidney stones, ensuring that patients receive tailored and effective care.

Potential Side Effects and Complications of Kidney Stone Laser Treatment

While kidney stone laser therapy is usually considered safe and prosperous, patients should be informed of potential side effects and consequences, as with any medical process. Here are some of the potential risks linked with the procedure:

  1. Bleeding: Kidney stone laser operation may lead to bleeding in some cases, particularly if the laser energy affects nearby blood vessels.
    While bleeding is usually minimal and can be controlled during the procedure, excessive bleeding may require additional intervention or blood transfusion.

  2. Infection: There is a risk of developing a urinary tract infection (UTI) after kidney stone laser treatment, and it's more likely if there is a pre-existing infection or the urinary tract is not adequately sterilised during the procedure.
    Symptoms of UTI include fever, pain during urination, and frequent urge to urinate. Prompt medical attention is necessary if infection is suspected.

  3. Urinary Stricture: In rare cases, kidney stone laser treatment may cause scarring or narrowing of the ureter or urethra, leading to a urinary stricture condition.
    This can result in difficulty with urination, including a weak urine stream or the inability to empty the bladder.

  4. Post-operative Discomfort: Following kidney stone laser treatment, patients may experience some discomfort, such as mild pain or a burning sensation during urination.
    This restlessness is usually temporary and can be managed with pain medications prescribed by the healthcare provider.

It is essential to note that the risk of these side effects and problems varies based on individual circumstances, such as the size and location of the stones, the patient's overall health, and surgical competence.
Therefore, patients should examine the possible risks and advantages with their healthcare professionals to determine the best treatment option for their particular condition.


In conclusion, kidney stone laser treatment has emerged as a highly effective and advanced approach for managing kidney stones. By utilising high-energy light pulses, this non-invasive and precise technique offers immediate relief from pain and inflammation while promoting faster healing and a high success rate in stone removal. 

Individuals with kidney stones are encouraged to explore the benefits of laser treatment as a viable option. Its ability to precisely target stones, regardless of their size or location, makes it a promising choice for many patients. With its proven effectiveness and minimal side effects, kidney stone laser treatment offers hope and improved outcomes for individuals seeking relief from kidney stone pain.

We at HexaHealth can help you get started with the best course of treatment that effectively brings relief to the problem. Connect with our experts today and learn more!

Suggested Reads

Kidney stone laser treatment cost Kidney stone size chart
Blood test for kidney stones What are the first signs of kidney stones
Kidney stone treatment without surgery Indian diet for kidney stone patients
How to pass kidney stones fast Home remedies for kidney stones

Frequently Asked Questions

During kidney stone laser treatment, a surgeon gains access to the kidney through a small incision or natural body openings. Laser energy is then directed towards the stones, breaking them into smaller fragments.
These fragments can be extracted or passed naturally through the urinary system.


The benefits of kidney stone laser operation include precise targeting of stones, minimal invasiveness, reduced risk of complications, faster recovery time, preservation of kidney function, versatility in treating different types of stones, and lower risk of future stone formation.


Yes, laser kidney stone removal is highly effective. It allows for the accurate fragmentation of stones without damaging surrounding tissues.
The success of the procedure is typically measured by achieving a stone-free status or the presence of small residual stone fragments.


While kidney stone laser treatment is generally safe, there can be some side effects. These may include temporary discomfort or pain after the procedure, minor bleeding, urinary tract irritation, or the need for temporary stent placement. However, serious complications are rare.


Laser treatment for stones is recommended when patients have large stones that cannot pass naturally, stones causing persistent pain or obstruction, recurrent stones, or stones associated with infection or kidney function impairment.
The suitability of laser treatment is determined based on individual circumstances.


Recovery time after kidney stone laser treatment varies depending on factors such as the size and location of the stones, overall health, and individual healing capacity.
In general, patients can expect to resume their daily activities within a few days to a week after the procedure.


Common side effects of kidney stone laser treatment include mild discomfort, blood in the urine, frequency or urgency of urination, or temporary stent-related symptoms such as bladder irritation or urinary leakage.
Most side effects resolve on their own within a short period of time.


Kidney stone laser treatment is performed under anaesthesia so patients do not experience pain during the procedure. However, mild discomfort or soreness may be felt in the days following the treatment, which can be managed with pain medication prescribed by the doctor.


Laser treatment is effective for treating various types of kidney stones, including calcium stones, uric acid stones, and cystine stones. However, the suitability of laser treatment depends on factors such as the size, location, and composition of the stones.
Your doctor will assess your specific case and recommend the most appropriate treatment approach.


The cost of kidney stone laser treatment can vary depending on factors such as the location, healthcare provider, and individual case.
It is best to consult with your healthcare provider or insurance company to understand the specific costs associated with the procedure.


The success rate of kidney stone laser treatment is generally high. It is measured by achieving a stone-free status, meaning complete stone removal or the presence of small residual stone fragments.
The success rate can vary depending on factors such as the size, location, and composition of the stones, as well as individual patient characteristics.


To prepare for kidney stone laser treatment, your doctor will provide specific instructions tailored to your case. This may include fasting before the procedure, adjusting medication, and informing your doctor about any allergies or underlying medical conditions.
It is important to follow your doctor's guidelines for a successful treatment outcome.


While kidney stones themselves do not directly cause infertility in men and women, they can lead to complications that may affect fertility. For example, large stones or recurrent urinary tract infections can cause damage to the kidneys or the reproductive organs.
If you have concerns about infertility related to kidney stones, it is best to consult with a healthcare professional.


To prevent kidney stones, it is important to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. This includes staying well-hydrated, limiting sodium and oxalate intake, consuming a balanced diet rich in fruits and vegetables, moderating animal protein and salt intake, and avoiding excessive consumption of sugary beverages. Regular physical activity and maintaining a healthy weight can also contribute to kidney stone prevention.


Kidney stones in children may present with symptoms such as severe abdominal or back pain, blood in the urine, frequent urination, pain during urination, and urgency to urinate. Younger children may exhibit symptoms such as irritability, restlessness, or vomiting.
If you suspect your child may have kidney stones, it is important to seek medical attention for proper evaluation and diagnosis.


There is evidence suggesting a correlation between kidney stones and high blood pressure. Both conditions share common risk factors, such as obesity, a diet high in sodium, and inadequate fluid intake.
Additionally, certain medications used to treat high blood pressure may increase the risk of developing kidney stones. It is important to manage these conditions and adopt a healthy lifestyle to reduce the risk of both kidney stones and high blood pressure.


While stress alone may not directly cause kidney stones, it can contribute to behaviours that increase the risk of stone formation. For instance, stress may lead to poor dietary choices, dehydration, and disrupted sleep patterns, all of which can increase the likelihood of kidney stone formation or exacerbate existing stones.
Managing stress through relaxation techniques and adopting healthy coping mechanisms can help reduce the risk.


Untreated kidney stones can lead to various long-term complications. These include recurrent stone formation, urinary tract infections, kidney damage, and decreased kidney function.
Large stones may cause obstruction in the urinary tract, leading to severe pain and potential complications such as kidney infection or kidney damage. 


Large kidney stones may require more extensive treatment approaches. Options include extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy (ESWL), percutaneous nephrolithotomy (PNL), and ureteroscopy with laser lithotripsy.
ESWL uses shock waves to break up stones, PNL involves making a small incision to remove the stones, and ureteroscopy uses a thin tube to access and remove stones. The most suitable treatment option depends on factors such as stone size, location, and individual patient characteristics.


Managing pain during a kidney stone attack involves various measures. Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can help relieve pain. Applying heat to the affected area, taking warm baths, and using heating pads may provide some relief.
It is crucial to stay well-hydrated to facilitate stone passage. Severe pain or complications may require medical intervention, and it is advisable to seek medical attention for proper evaluation and pain management.


Several factors increase the risk of developing kidney stones, including dehydration, certain medical conditions (such as gout or urinary tract infections), family history of kidney stones, certain dietary habits (high intake of sodium, oxalate, or animal protein), obesity, and certain medications.
Understanding these risk factors and adopting preventive measures can help reduce the likelihood of developing kidney stones.


Calcium oxalate and uric acid are the two most common types of kidney stones. Calcium oxalate stones form due to high levels of calcium and oxalate in the urine, while uric acid stones form due to elevated levels of uric acid.
Calcium oxalate stones are more prevalent and often associated with dietary factors, while uric acid stones are linked to conditions like gout and certain metabolic disorders.



All the articles on HexaHealth are supported by verified medically-recognized sources such as; peer-reviewed academic research papers, research institutions, and medical journals. Our medical reviewers also check references of the articles to prioritize accuracy and relevance. Refer to our detailed editorial policy for more information.

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  2. Lithotripsy: Procedure, recovery, and side effects [Internet]. 2018 [cited 2023 Jul 1].link
  3. Holmium Laser Lithotripsy: Procedure, Risks & Benefits [Internet]. Cleveland
  4. Kidney Stones [Internet]. WebMD.
  5. Mayo Clinic. Kidney stones - Diagnosis and treatment [Internet].
  6. Vaidyanathan S, Singh G, Selmi F, Hughes PL, Soni BM, Oo T. Complications and salvage options after laser lithotripsy for a vesical calculus in a tetraplegic patient: a case report. Patient Safety in Surgery. 2015;9(1)
  7. Ureteroscopy and Laser Lithotripsy» Department of Urology» College of Medicine» University of Florida [Internet].link
  8. Peng C, Chen Z, Xu J. Risk factors for urinary infection after retrograde upper urinary lithotripsy. Medicine. 2021 Aug 6;100(31)

Updated on : 4 July 2024

Disclaimer: The information provided here is for educational and learning purposes only. It doesn't cover every medical condition and might not be relevant to your personal situation. This information isn't medical advice, isn't meant for diagnosing any condition, and shouldn't replace talking to a certified medical or healthcare professional.


Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

Dr. Aman Priya Khanna

MBBS, DNB General Surgery, Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery, FIAGES

12 Years Experience

Dr Aman Priya Khanna is a well-known General Surgeon, Proctologist and Bariatric Surgeon currently associated with HealthFort Clinic, Health First Multispecialty Clinic in Delhi. He has 12 years of experience in General Surgery and worke...View More


Charu Shrivastava

Charu Shrivastava

BSc. Biotechnology I MDU and MSc in Medical Biochemistry (HIMSR, Jamia Hamdard)

2 Years Experience

Skilled in SEO and passionate about creating informative and engaging medical content. Her proofreading and content writing for medical websites is impressive. She creates informative and engaging content that educ...View More

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