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Canadian Journal of Gastroenterology
Volume 6 (1992), Issue 6, Pages 323-328
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/1992/175814

Endoscopic Management of Difficult Bile Duct Stones

Christian Ell

Department of Medicine, Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg, Germany

Copyright © 1992 Canadian Association of Gastroenterology. This open-access article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (CC BY-NC) (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/), which permits reuse, distribution, and reproduction of the article, provided that the original work is properly cited and the reuse is restricted to noncommercial purposes.

Abstract

More than 90% of all common bile duct concrements can be removed via the endoscopic retrograde route via endoscopic sphincterotomy, stone extraction by baskets and balloon catheters, or mechanical lithotripsy. Oversized, very hard or impacted stones, however, often still resist conventional endoscopic therapy. Promising new or improved approaches for the treatment of these stones are intracorporeal or extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy. Shockwave lithotriptors for extracorporeal shockwave lithotripsy are currently available worldwide. However, for the waterbath first generation devices, general anesthesia is required since shockwaves are very painful. Furthermore, an x-ray localization system is essential to visualize the stones after having filled the bile duct over a nasobiliary catheter. An average of two shockwave treatments with additional two to four endoscopic sessions are required. ln tracorporeal lithotripsy promises more comfort and less effort for the patient. Shockwaves are generated either by means of the spark gap principle (electrohydraulic probes) or by laser-induced plasma generation. Laser-induced shockwave lithotripsy appears to be more safer, since with dye and solid state lasers, athermal, well-controlled shockwaves can be generateJ without the risks for duct perfo ration (as described for the electrohydraulic system). Furthermore, a recently developed stone-tissue detection system integrated in a new dye laser system enchances the safety of laser-induced lithotripsy. ln consequence, lithotripsy without direct endoscopic control appears possible in selected cases.