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J Endourol. 2014 Jul;28(7):877-80. doi: 10.1089/end.2014.0083. Epub 2014 Apr 11.

Expanding endourology for biliary stone disease: the efficacy of intracorporeal lithotripsy on refractory biliary calculi.

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  • 11 Department of Urology, University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health , Madison, Wisconsin.



We evaluated the efficacy of ureteroscopic therapy (electrohydraulic lithotripsy [EHL] and intraductal laser lithotripsy [ILL]) in patients with challenging biliary stones secondary to anatomic variations resulting from a previous surgical procedure, including liver transplantation.


A retrospective chart review was performed for all patients with previous surgical alteration of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract who underwent EHL or ILL via peroral or percutaneous access for choledocholithiasis by a single surgeon at our institution from 2000 to 2012. A database containing clinical and surgical variables was created, and long-term follow-up was conducted (3-138 months; median, 99 months).


Thirteen patients (51.7±20.0 years; M:F, 10:3) in whom endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTHC), or both failed were identified. Failure of ERCP/PTHC was because of inaccessibility of the calculi in all cases. Stone clearance was achieved in 12/13 (93%) patients; 8/12 (62%) after one procedure, and 4/12 (31%) after two procedures. One patient with biliary cast syndrome needed four interventions over 9 years. Major complications were low, with only one patient with hypotension and cholangitis that resolved with 24 hours of administration of intravenous fluids and antibiotics.


Both endoscopic and percutaneous lithotripsies are effective treatments for refractory biliary calculi resulting from the post-surgical GI tract. Although a staged second procedure may be necessary in patients with significant stone burden, this is significantly better than extensive open surgery.

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