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
- Tanagho EA, et al. Smith's General Urology. 17th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2008. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=21. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Urinary calculi. The Merck Manuals: The Merck Manual for Healthcare Professionals. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/genitourinary_disorders/urinary_calculi/urinary_calculi.html. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Marx JA, et al. Rosen's Emergency Medicine: Concepts and Clinical Practice. 7th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2010. http://www.mdconsult.com/books/about.do?about=true&eid=4-u1.0-B978-0-323-05472-0..X0001-1--TOP&isbn=978-0-323-05472-0&uniqId=230100505-57. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Tintinalli JE, et al. Tintinalli's Emergency Medicine: A Comprehensive Study Guide. 7th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=40. Accessed June 17, 2013.
- Wein AJ, et al. Campbell-Walsh Urology. 10th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-6/0/1445/0.html. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Kidney and ureteral stones: Surgical management. American Urological Association. http://www.urologyhealth.org/urology/index.cfm?article=32. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Curhan GC, et al. Diagnosis and acute management of suspected nephrolithiasis in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 18, 2013.
- Rakel D. Integrative Medicine. 3rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2012. http://www.mdconsult.com/das/book/body/208746819-2/0/1494/0.html. Accessed June 19, 2013.
- Castle EP (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Scottsdale/Phoenix, Ariz. July 12, 2013.
You Are ... The Campaign for Mayo Clinic
Mayo Clinic is a not-for-profit organization. Make a difference today.