Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction: managing the patient with chronic biliary pain

World J Gastroenterol. 2006 Jun 28;12(24):3793-802. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v12.i24.3793.


Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction (SOD) is a syndrome of chronic biliary pain or recurrent pancreatitis due to functional obstruction of pancreaticobiliary flow at the level of the sphincter of Oddi. The Milwaukee classification stratifies patients according to their clinical picture based on elevated liver enzymes, dilated common bile duct and presence of abdominal pain. Type I patients have pain as well as abnormal liver enzymes and a dilated common bile duct. Type II SOD consists of pain and only one objective finding, and Type III consists of biliary pain only. This classification is useful to guide diagnosis and management of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. The current gold standard for diagnosis is manometry to detect elevated sphincter pressure, which correlates with outcome to sphincterotomy. However, manometry is not widely available and is an invasive procedure with a risk of pancreatitis. Non-invasive testing methods, including fatty meal ultrasonography and scintigraphy, have shown limited correlation with manometric findings but may be useful in predicting outcome to sphincterotomy. Endoscopic injection of botulinum toxin appears to predict subsequent outcome to sphincterotomy, and could be useful in selection of patients for therapy, especially in the setting where manometry is unavailable.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Botulinum Toxins
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / therapeutic use
  • Chronic Disease
  • Electroacupuncture
  • Humans
  • Manometry
  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Nitrates / therapeutic use
  • Octreotide / therapeutic use
  • Pain / diagnosis
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Management*
  • Radionuclide Imaging / methods
  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction / diagnosis
  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction / etiology
  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction / physiopathology
  • Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction / therapy*
  • Sphincterotomy, Endoscopic / methods
  • Ultrasonography / methods


  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Neuromuscular Agents
  • Nitrates
  • Botulinum Toxins
  • Octreotide