Fiber-optic manipulation of urinary stone phantoms using holmium: YAG and thulium fiber lasers

Richard L. Blackmon, Jason R. Case, Susan R. Trammell, Pierce B. Irby, Nathaniel M. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Fiber-optic attraction of urinary stones during laser lithotripsy may be exploited to manipulate stone fragments inside the urinary tract without mechanical grasping tools, saving the urologist time and space in the ureteroscope working channel. We compare thulium fiber laser (TFL) high pulse rate/low pulse energy operation to conventional holmium:YAG low pulse rate/high pulse energy operation for fiber-optic suctioning of plaster-ofparis (PoP) stone phantoms. A TFL (wavelength of 1908 nm, pulse energy of 35 mJ, pulse duration of 500 μs, and pulse rate of 10 to 350 Hz) and a holmium laser (wavelength of 2120 nm, pulse energy of 35 to 360 mJ, pulse duration of 300 μs, and pulse rate of 20 Hz) were tested using 270-μm-core optical fibers. A peak drag speed of ∼2.5 mm/s was measured for both TFL (35 mJ and 150 to 250 Hz) and holmium laser (210 mJ and 20 Hz). Particle image velocimetry and thermal imaging were used to track water flow for all parameters. Fiber-optic suctioning of urinary stone phantoms is feasible. TFL operation at high pulse rates/low pulse energies is preferable to holmium operation at low pulse rates/high pulse energies for rapid and smooth stone pulling. With further development, this novel technique may be useful for manipulating stone fragments in the urinary tract.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number028001
JournalJournal of Biomedical Optics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013


  • Holmium
  • Lithotripsy
  • Retropulsion
  • Thulium
  • Urinary stones

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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