by Deanna M. Neff, MPH
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.
Reasons for Procedure TOP
This procedure is done to treat bladder stones.
Possible Complications TOP
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, such as:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
What to Expect TOP
Prior to Procedure
Your doctor may do the following:
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:
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 TOP
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 TOP
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? TOP
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? TOP
Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. Ask your doctor about medication to help with pain after the procedure.
Post-procedure Care TOP
At the Care Center
After the procedure, the care center staff may provide the following care:
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call Your Doctor TOP
It is important to monitor your recovery. Alert your doctor to any problems. If any of the following occur, call your doctor:
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:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Updated March 28, 2012. Accessed May 22, 2013.
Cystoscopy for women. Johns Hopkins Medicine website. Available at:
...(Click grey area to select URL)
Accessed May 22, 2013.
Marickar YM, Nair N, et al. Retrieval methods for urinary stones. Urol Res. 2009;37(6):369-376.
Last reviewed January 2015 by Adrienne Carmack, MD
Last Updated: 4/29/2014