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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Management of difficult common bile duct stones.

More than 80% of all CBD stones can be effectively treated by endoscopic sphincterotomy and stone extraction using baskets or balloon catheters. For stones up to 2.5 cm in diameter, mechanical lithotripsy is the method of choice as a next step. Very large, impacted, or very hard concretions, however, often make mechanical lithotripsy cumbersome or even impossible. For these stones laser lithotripsy, EHL, and ESWL are nonoperative options, especially for elderly patients and patients with an elevated surgical risk. Because these methods are often only available at endoscopic centers, stenting is a treatment modality for immediate stone therapy, but as a definitive treatment it should be restricted to selected cases. ESWL, EHL, and laser lithotripsy yield similar success rates of 80% to 95% and may be used complementarily in endoscopic centers. ESWL is the preferred therapy in intrahepatic lithiasis. Laser lithotripsy shows the best results in CBD stones. Electrohydraulic lithotripsy is rarely used because of its high potential for tissue damage and bleeding. Laser lithotripsy using smart laser systems such as the rhodamine 6G dye laser and the FREDDY laser system can simplify the treatment of these difficult bile duct stones. The rhodamine 6G-dye laser allows blind fragmentation of these stones by exclusive insertion of a 7-F metal marked standard catheter into the bile duct by standard duodenoscopes using intermittent fluoroscopy. An oSTDS safely cuts off the laser pulse if contact with the stone is lost, thus preserving the bile duct from potential damage. Unfortunately the system is no longer produced. The new FREDDY laser lithotriptor with a piezoacoustic stone/tissue discrimination system offers an alternative to the rhodamine 6G dye laser system at less than half the financial investment. Effective stone fragmentation is accompanied by only low tissue alteration. The holmium:YAG laser is an effective multidisciplinary lithotriptor, but it can be used only under cholangioscopic control, limiting its use to gastroenterologic centers.[1]


  1. Management of difficult common bile duct stones. Hochberger, J., Tex, S., Maiss, J., Hahn, E.G. Gastrointest. Endosc. Clin. N. Am. (2003) [Pubmed]
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