Choledocholithiasis (bile duct stones) occurs in 10% to 15% of patients with cholelithiasis. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and biliary sphincterotomy, combined with the use of a variety of available accessories (eg, mechanical lithotriptors), are highly effective in managing most common bile duct stones. The combination of biliary sphincterotomy and papillary balloon dilation allows removal of many stones without the need for mechanical lithotripsy. Large stones may require additional expertise and the use of cholangioscopy with intraductal lithotripsy. Some patients, especially those with intrahepatic stones, require the help of an interventional radiologist or a biliary surgeon. The availability of endoscopists, radiologists, and surgeons interested in and experienced with biliary diseases will allow successful and safe therapy to be tailored to the individual patient.
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