A bladder stone (also called a vesical calculus or cystolith) is a stone found in the urinary bladder. The term cystolithiasis refers to the presence of stones in the bladder.
Cystolithotomy is a surgical procedure for the removal of bladder stones in the case that one has been deemed too large to pass naturally, such as developed jackstone calculi. This may require open surgery to remove the stone, however robotic cystolithotomy allows for a minimally invasive approach to remove the stone through much smaller incisions than the traditional approach. Most bladder stones can be dealt with by an endoscopic procedure, to avoid the need for a surgical incision.
An open cystolithotomy is performed under general anesthesia as an inpatient procedure. The first step is a cystoscopy to examine the bladder, then an incision is made in the lower abdomen. Once the stone is removed, the bladder is repaired with an absorbable stitch, and a catheter is inserted into the bladder via the urethra. Occasionally it is necessary to gently drip fluid in and out of the bladder for a period, as there is often some bleeding following the procedure. The majority of patients do not have major side effects following cystolithotomy, but it may be followed by a minor burning sensation and light bleeding. More serious side effects include bladder infection, a prolonged need of catheter use, and infection in the surgical incision. Rare side effects may include delayed bleeding requiring removal of clots or further surgery, injury to the urethra causing scar formation, fever and more serious infection requiring a longer hospital stay, and delayed healing of the bladder, which may require a further procedure.
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