Extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy was performed on eight patients (six men, two women; mean age 46.3 years, range 36-58) with predominantly stone-induced obstructive pancreatitis. Stones in the pancreatic duct were smashed in one session to such an extent that the fragments were eliminated spontaneously via the ostium which had previously been split endoscopically. Repeat lithotripsy to achieve complete removal was necessary in only two patients. In one there were multiple concrements along the entire length of the main pancreatic duct; the other had a cherry-sized stone near the bifurcation of the accessory pancreatic duct. There were no serious complications. After successful removal of the stones all patients were free of pain which before had required strong analgesics to control. Six patients remained pain-free during a follow-up period of two eight months. Pain again occurred in the other two, but it was less frequent and milder.