Thulium fiber laser ablation of urinary Stones through small-core Optical fibers

Nicholas J. Scott, Christopher M. Cilip, Nathaniel M. Fried

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Complications during laser lithotripsy include optical fiber bending failure resulting in endoscope damage and low irrigation rates leading to poor visibility. Both problems are related to fiber diameter and limited by the holmium:YAG (Ho:YAG) laser ($\lambda\;{=}\; {2120}$ nm) multimode beam profile. This study exploits the thulium fiber laser ( $\lambda\;{=} \; {1908}$ nm) beam profile for higher power transmission through smaller fibers. Thulium fiber laser radiation with 1 ms pulse duration, pulse rates of 1030 Hz, and 70-$\mu$ m-diameter spot was coupled into silica fibers with 100, 150, and 200 $\mu$m core diameters. Fiber transmission, bending, and endoscope irrigation tests were performed. Damage thresholds for 100, 150, and 200 $\mu$m fibers averaged 40, 60, and $>80$ W, respectively. Irrigation rates measured 35, 26, and 15 mL/min for no fiber, and 100 and 200 $\mu$ m fibers. Thulium fiber laser energy of 70 mJ delivered at 20 Hz through a 100 $\mu$m fiber resulted in vaporization and fragmentation rates of 10 and 60 mg/min for uric acid stones. The thulium fiber laser beam profile provides higher laser power through smaller fibers than Ho:YAG laser, potentially reducing fiber failure and endoscope damage, and allowing greater irrigation rates for improved visibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number4783018
Pages (from-to)435-440
Number of pages6
JournalIEEE Journal on Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2009


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Atomic and Molecular Physics, and Optics


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