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Cystolitholapaxy is a procedure to break up bladder stones into smaller pieces and remove them. Bladder stones are minerals that have built up in the bladder. Ultrasonic waves or lasers may be delivered through a tool called a cystoscope to break up the stones.
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Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, such as:
- Urinary tract infection
- Bladder tear or damage
- Reaction to the anesthesia
- Damage to internal tissue or structures
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
What to Expect
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
- Physical exam and medical history
- Blood and urine tests
- Imaging tests to evaluate the bladder and surrounding structures
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
Other things to remember before the procedure:
- Arrange for a ride home from the care center.
- If instructed by your doctor, do not eat or drink for 8 hours before the procedure.
This procedure can be done under local, spinal , or general anesthesia. It will block any pain. Sedation may also be used to ease anxiety.
With local anesthesia, a special jelly or fluid will be inserted into your urethra. This will numb the area. If you are having spinal anesthesia, it will be injected into your spine. General anesthesia will make you stay asleep during the procedure.
Description of Procedure
The doctor will place a tiny flexible probe, called a cystoscope, through your urethra toward the bladder. The probe has a camera for viewing. Imaging guidance, like ultrasound , will help the doctor locate the bladder stones. A saline solution may be flushed through the urinary tract. After a stone is located, the doctor will grab the stone and turn on the device to break it. A special basket or forceps will be used to grab the stone fragments and remove them.
The bladder and surrounding structures will be examined. The doctor may place a stent in your urethra to help protect the lining while the fragments pass or to repair damage.
Immediately After Procedure
Depending on the type of anesthesia used, you may be able to move around after the procedure. You may still have a catheter inside your urethra.
How Long Will It Take?
This is usually done in an outpatient setting. You will not need to stay overnight. The procedure takes 30-60 minutes depending on the size of the stones.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Ask your doctor about medication to help with pain after the procedure.
At the Care Center
After the procedure, the care center staff may provide the following care:
- Monitor you while you recover from the anesthesia and/or sedation
- Remove any IV needles and the catheter
- Help you to eat and move around again
- Give you pain medication
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
- Washing their hands
- Wearing gloves or masks
- Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
- Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
- Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
- Not allowing others to touch your incisions
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
- Take medication as directed to reduce pain and the chance of infection
- Avoid difficult activity and heavy lifting
- Drink plenty of fluids
Call Your Doctor
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
- Increasing pressure or pain while passing urine
- Pain in the back or abdomen
- Not able to urinate
- Changes in frequency, odor, appearance, or volume of urine
- Signs of infection, including fever or chills
- Blood or blood clots in urine after the first few days
- Painful urination or a burning sensation after the first few days
- Leaking urine
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
Urology Care Foundation
Canadian Urological Association
Kidney Foundation of Canada
Cystoscopy and ureteroscopy. National Kidney and Urologic Diseases Information Clearinghouse website. Available at: http://kidney.niddk.nih.gov/kudiseases/pubs/cystoscopy. Updated March 28, 2012. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Cystoscopy for women. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at: http://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/healthlibrary/test%5Fprocedures/gynecology/cystoscopy%5Ffor%5Fwomen%5F92,P07723. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Marickar YM, Nair N, et al. Retrieval methods for urinary stones. Urol Res. 2009;37(6):369-376.
- Reviewer: Adrienne Carmack, MD
- Review Date: 01/2015
- Update Date: 04/29/2014