Endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) is the standard therapy in common bile duct (CBD) stones extraction. Large stones (≥ 12 mm) or multiple stones extraction may be challenging after ES alone. Endoscopic sphincterotomy followed by large balloon dilation (ESLBD) has been described as an alternative to ES in these indications. Efficacy, safety, cost-effectiveness and technical aspects of the procedure have been here reviewed. PubMed and Google Scholar search resulted in forty-one articles dealing with CBD stone extraction with 12 mm or more dilation balloons after ES. ESLBD is at least as effective as ES, and reduces the need for additional mechanical lithotripsy. Adverse events rates are not statistically different after ESLBD compared to ES for pancreatitis, bleeding and perforation. However, particular attention should be paid in patients with CBD strictures, which is identified as a risk factor of perforation. ESLBD is slightly cost-effective compared to ES. A small sphincterotomy is usually performed, and may reduce bleeding rates compared to full sphincterotomy. Dilation is performed with 12-20 mm enteral balloons. Optimal inflation time is yet to be determined. The procedure can be performed safely even in patients with peri-ampullary diverticula and surgically altered anatomy. ESLBD is effective and safe in the removal of large CBD stones, however, small sphincterotomy might be preferred and CBD strictures should be considered as a relative contraindication.
Keywords: Bile duct stone; Endoscopic papillary large balloon dilation; Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Endoscopic sphincterotomy; Mechanical lithotripsy.