Purpose of review
The purpose of this review is to summarize recent developments in the array of devices which are commonly used by urologists in the surgical management of kidney stones. To accomplish this goal, an extensive review of recent endourology literature, conference abstracts, and publicly available documents from manufacturers and the United States Food and Drug Administration was collected and reviewed.
Recent developments in the holmium:yttrium-aluminum-garnet (Ho:YAG) laser lithotripsy
include the introduction of pulse modulation. This technique delivers the laser energy in an asymmetric manner such that an initial bubble is created (the ‘Moses effect’) through which the remainder of the energy can then travel through without being absorbed by surrounding water. Even more novel is the thulium fiber laser, which is produced in a fundamentally different way than traditional Ho:YAG lasers
and is not yet available for clinical use. Finally, novel mechanical lithotrites which effectively combine ultrasonic energy, ballistic energy, and suction capability appear to be highly effective for stone clearance in recent benchtop and clinical studies.
With the introduction of both new modifications of time-tested technologies as well as completely novel modalities, the practicing urologist's armamentarium of devices for the surgical management of kidney stones continues to grow. As the popularity of ‘mini’ procedures continues to grow, the adaptability of these technologies to these procedures will be critical to maintain maximum relevance.