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Laser lithotripsy for the treatment of bile duct stones

Thomas Lingenfelser, MD, PhD, AGAF, FEBG
Christian Ell, MD, PhD
Section Editor
Douglas A Howell, MD, FASGE, FACG
Deputy Editor
Kristen M Robson, MD, MBA, FACG


Gallstone disease continues to be a major health problem throughout the world, affecting approximately 10 to 20 percent of the Caucasian population. Ten percent of these patients have gallstones in their biliary ductal system which, in most cases, can be removed endoscopically [1,2]. (See "Epidemiology of and risk factors for gallstones".)

A variety of methods have been devised for extracting gallstones that are not easily removable using standard methods (ie, a retrieval basket or a balloon). As a general rule, these methods crush or fragment the stone (known as lithotripsy). In addition to laser light, methods include mechanical, electrohydraulic, and extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy [3-5].

This topic will discuss the mechanism, equipment, indications, technique, and efficacy of laser lithotripsy for the treatment of bile duct stones. Other methods for treating bile duct stones including mechanical and electrohydraulic lithotripsy are discussed separately. (See "Endoscopic management of bile duct stones: Standard techniques and mechanical lithotripsy" and "Electrohydraulic lithotripsy in the treatment of bile and pancreatic duct stones".)

The use of extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for the treatment of pancreatic stones is discussed separately. (See "Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy for pancreatic stones".)

The nonsurgical management of gallbladder stones is discussed separately. (See "Nonsurgical treatment of gallstones".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Jul 09, 2017.
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