Rapid vaporization of kidney stones, ex vivo, using a Thulium fiber laser at pulse rates up to 500 Hz with a stone basket

Luke A. Hardy, Christopher R. Wilson, Pierce B. Irby, Nathaniel M. Fried

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


The Holmium:YAG laser (λ = 2120 nm) is currently the preferred laser for fragmenting kidney stones in the clinic. However, this laser has some limitations, including operation at low pulse rates and a multimode spatial beam profile which prohibits its use with smaller, more flexible optical fibers. Our laboratory is studying the Thulium fiber laser (λ = 1908 nm) as an alternative lithotripter. The TFL has several advantages, including lower stone ablation thresholds, use with smaller and more flexible fibers, and operation at arbitrary pulse lengths and pulse rates. Previous studies have reported increased stone ablation rates with TFL operation at higher pulse rates, however, stone retropulsion remains an obstacle to even more efficient stone ablation. This study explores TFL operation at high pulse rates in combination with a stone stabilization device (e.g. stone basket) for improved efficiency. A TFL beam with pulse energy of 35 mJ, pulse duration of 500-μs, and pulse rates of 10-500 Hz was coupled into 100-μm-core, low-OH, silica fibers, in contact mode with uric acid and calcium oxalate monohydrate stones, ex vivo. TFL operation at 500 Hz produced UA and COM stone ablation rates up to 5.0 mg/s and 1.3 mg/s, respectively. High TFL pulse rates produced increased stone ablation rates sufficient for use in the clinic.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProgress in Biomedical Optics and Imaging - Proceedings of SPIE
ISBN (Print)9780819498397
StatePublished - 2014
EventPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics X - San Francisco, CA, United States
Duration: Feb 1 2014Feb 2 2014


OtherPhotonic Therapeutics and Diagnostics X
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Francisco, CA


  • Ablation
  • Fiber laser
  • Fragmentation
  • Holmium
  • Lithotripsy
  • Thulium
  • Urinary stones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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