Korean J Intern Med.  2021 Mar;36(2):235-246. 10.3904/kjim.2020.425.

Recent advances in the management of difficult bile-duct stones: a focus on single-operator cholangioscopy-guided lithotripsy

  • 1Division of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Department of Internal Medicine, Kyung Hee University Hospital, Seoul, Korea


The most effective and the standard treatment for bile duct stones (BDSs) is endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). However, in 10% to 15% of patients with BDSs, the stones cannot be removed by conventional ERCP, which involves endoscopic sphincterotomy followed by balloon or basket extraction. Additional techniques or devices are often necessary to remove these difficult bileduct stones, including endoscopic papillary large balloon dilatation to make a larger papillary opening and/or mechanical lithotripsy to fragment the stones. Advances in cholangioscopy have made possible electrohydraulic or laser lithotripsy under direct cholangioscopic visualization during ERCP. Cholangioscopy-guided lithotripsy could be another good option in the armamentarium of techniques for removing difficult BDSs. Here we review endoscopic techniques based on single-operator cholangioscopy for the management of difficult BDSs.


Cholangiopancreatography; endoscopic retrograde; Choledocholithiasis; Lithotripsy; Cholangioscopy
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