Extracorporeal Lithotripsy: An Important Adjunct in the Nonoperative Management of Retained or Recurrent Bile Duct Stones

Frederic E. Eckhauser, Steven E. Raper, James A. Knol, Michael W. Mulholland, Timothy T. Nostrant, Grace Elta, Jeffrey Barnett, L. Paul Sonda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Retained or recurrent bile duct stones can be successfully removed in up to 80% to 85% of patients with the use of percutaneous or endoscopic techniques. However, problems related to difficult biliary access, large stones, and biliary strictures may decrease the success rate of this approach. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in 16 patients with complicated biliary stones treated prospectively over a 24-month period. Successful stone fragmentation was achieved in 15 patients (94%) using a Dornier HM3 lithotripter (average of 2290 shocks at 22 kV). Three patients (19%) required a second ESWL treatment. Biliary clearance of stone fragments was spontaneous in seven (43%) of the patients and required additional treatment in eight (57%) of the patients. Complications from ESWL were minor and included transient hematuria and ecchymoses at the skin entry site. Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy failed in one patient (6%) with a biliary stricture and surgery was required. At hospital discharge, all patients were asymptomatic and stone free. Treatment with ESWL appears to be a safe and effective adjunct for selected patients with complex biliary stone disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)829-835
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1991
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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