, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 227-233
Date: 28 Mar 2007

Lasers in clinical urology: state of the art and new horizons

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We present an overview of current and emerging lasers for Urology. We begin with an overview of the Holmium:YAG laser. The Ho:YAG laser is the gold standard lithotripsy modality for endoscopic lithotripsy, and compares favorably to standard electrocautery transurethral resection of the prostate for benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). Available laser technologies currently being studied include the frequency doubled double-pulse Nd:Yag (FREDDY) and high-powered potassium-titanyl-phosphate (KTP) lasers. The FREDDY laser presents an affordable and safe option for intracorporeal lithotripsy, but it does not fragment all stone compositions, and does not have soft tissue applications. The high power KTP laser shows promise in the ablative treatment of BPH. Initial experiments with the Erbium:YAG laser show it has improved efficiency of lithotripsy and more precise ablative and incisional properties compared to Ho:YAG, but the lack of adequate optical fibers limits its use in Urology. Thulium:YAG fiber lasers have also demonstrated tissue ablative and incision properties comparable to Ho:YAG. Lastly, compact size, portability, and low maintenance schedules of fiber lasers may allow them to shape the way lasers are used by urologists in the future.