Generally, bladder stones should be removed. If the stone is small, your doctor may recommend that you drink a lot of water each day to help the stone pass. However, because bladder stones are often caused by the inability to empty the bladder completely, spontaneous passage of the stones is unlikely. Almost all cases require removal of the stones.
Breaking stones apart
Bladder stones are often removed during a procedure called a cystolitholapaxy (sis-toe-lih-THOL-uh-pak-see). A small tube with a camera at the end (cystoscope) is inserted through your urethra and into your bladder to view the stone. Your doctor then uses a laser, ultrasound or mechanical device to break the stone into small pieces and flushes the pieces from your bladder.
Before the procedure, you'll likely have anesthesia that numbs the lower part of your body (regional anesthesia) or that makes you unconscious and unable to feel pain (general anesthesia). Complications from a cystolitholapaxy aren't common, but urinary tract infections, fever, a tear in your bladder or bleeding can occur. Your doctor may give you antibiotics before the procedure to reduce the risk of infections.
About a month after the cystolitholapaxy, your doctor will likely check to make sure that no stone fragments remain in your bladder.
Occasionally, bladder stones that are large or too hard to break up are removed through open surgery. In these cases, your doctor makes an incision in your bladder and directly removes the stones. Any underlying condition causing the stones, such as an enlarged prostate, may be corrected at the same time.
Aug. 14, 2013
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