Biliary stenting in the management of large or multiple common bile duct stones

Gastrointest Endosc. 2010 Jun;71(7):1200-1203.e2. doi: 10.1016/j.gie.2009.12.055. Epub 2010 Apr 18.


Background: Endoscopic biliary stenting with a plastic stent is often performed to prevent impaction of common bile duct (CBD) stones. The therapeutic effect of a plastic stent placement in terms of reduction in stone size and number has not been established.

Objective: The aim of this study was to study the effect of biliary stenting as therapy for CBD stones.

Design: Retrospective study.

Setting: Municipal hospital outpatients.

Interventions: Patients with large (> or = 20 mm) and/or multiple (> or = 3) stones had placement of a 7F double-pigtail plastic stent without stone extraction at the initial ERCP. Approximately 2 months later, stone removal was attempted. The number and size of CBD stones before and after stent placement, stone clearance, complications, and 180-day mortality were evaluated.

Results: Forty patients were studied. Stent placement averaged 65 days (range, 50-82 days). The median number (interquartile range) of stones per patient fell after stent placement (4.0 [3.0] before vs. 2.0 [1.0] after; P < .0001). Characteristically, larger stones became smaller and small stones disappeared (ie, the median stone index decreased from 4.6 [3.0] to 2.0 [1.5]; P < .0001). Stone clearance at the second ERCP was achieved in 37 out of 40 patients (93%). Complications included cholangitis (13%) and pancreatitis (5%) after the second ERCP. No 180-day mortality occurred.

Limitations: A retrospective, single-center study.

Conclusions: Stent placement for 2 months was associated with large and/or multiple CBD stones becoming smaller and/or disappearing without any complications. Stenting followed by a wait period may assist in difficult CBD stone removal.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde / methods*
  • Choledocholithiasis / diagnosis
  • Choledocholithiasis / mortality
  • Choledocholithiasis / surgery*
  • Common Bile Duct / surgery*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prosthesis Design
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Stents*
  • Survival Rate
  • Treatment Outcome
  • United States / epidemiology