Functional biliary-type pain: update and controversies

J Clin Gastroenterol. 2005 May-Jun;39(5 Suppl 3):S217-22. doi: 10.1097/01.mcg.0000156112.76856.26.


Recurrent biliary-type abdominal pain is a perplexing clinical dilemma that occurs in patients with an acalculous gallbladder in situ or in patients who have undergone a previous cholecystectomy. The pathogenesis of functional biliary-type pain is often unclear; therefore, evaluation and management remain controversial. In patients with an acalculous gallbladder in situ, critical importance has been given to delayed gallbladder emptying using cholescintigraphy (CCK-CS) to determine if gallbladder dysfunction is present. However, several issues remain unresolved, including methodology, definition of delayed emptying, and the absence of high-quality studies to determine if CCK-CS can predict who will do well with cholecystectomy. In patients with previous cholecystectomy, the main area of controversy is the evaluation of patients with sphincter of Oddi Type III, including the role of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with SO manometry and sphincterotomy in these patients. Suggested algorithms for management of both clinical scenarios are provided.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Biliary Tract Diseases / complications*
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Biliary Tract Diseases / physiopathology
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Gallbladder Emptying / physiology
  • Humans
  • Pain / diagnostic imaging
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Recurrence
  • Sphincter of Oddi / physiopathology