Bladder, Kidney & Ureteral Stones

Los Gatos Hospital is one of very few hospitals in the area to offer lithotripsy, a procedure that makes stone disease management more effective and less traumatic.

A stone forms when excreted substances in the urine crystalize into solid material. Depending on where it forms or moves, it may be called a kidney stone, ureteral stone or bladder stone.

Our urology team has been using minimally invasive procedures to treat people with stone disease for more than 20 years. About 70 percent of these procedures use lithotripsy, the process of shattering stones into tiny fragments that can be passed out along with urine.

Advanced lithotripsy can shorten hospital stays, reduce pain and discomfort and allow stone disease to be to be treated on an outpatient basis.

At our Los Gatos campus, we treat several hundred kidney stone cases a year and have a fast-track program in the Emergency Department. Our expertise in the use of both extracorporeal (outside the body) and intracorporeal (inside the body) lithotripsy allows us to customize our approach to fit your needs. We consider the size and nature of the stone, its location and the anatomy of our patient’s urinary tract.

While we offer a full range of treatments, our lithotripsy expertise includes:

  • Extracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy (ESWL)
    This noninvasive device is used outside the body, focusing the shock waves through the body and to the stone without damaging living tissue. The shock waves break the stone into sand-like particles that are eliminated with the urine.
  • Intracorporeal Shock Wave Lithotripsy with a Holmium Laser (ISWL)
    With ISWL, the fragmenting energy is generated within the body. A scope equipped with a laser light fiber is inserted through the bladder and into the ureter (the tube that drains urine from kidney into bladder). The holmium laser generates a powerful shock wave that effectively shatters all types of stones — kidney, ureteral and bladder. Fragments pass out with urine.