British experience with duodenoscopic sphincterotomy for removal of bile duct stones

Br J Surg. 1981 Jun;68(6):373-5. doi: 10.1002/bjs.1800680602.


Duodenoscopic sphincterotomy is rapidly becoming popular in Britain. Representatives of 14 British centres met in January 1980 to discuss progress and problems with the technique. This report summarizes current experience, with particular reference to hazards. Duodenoscopic sphincterotomy is mainly being used in patients who have previously undergone cholecystectomy and who no longer have a T tube drain in place. Sphincterotomy was achieved in 87 per cent of 679 patients attempted, and the common duct was cleared of stones in 87 per cent of these. Immediate complications followed in 8.5 per cent; 1.6 per cent required urgent surgery and 7 patients (1 per cent) died. Centres with the greatest experience had better results and fewer complications. Those performing duodenoscopic sphincterotomy believe it to be a major advance in the management of high risk patients with common duct stones, after cholecystectomy. Its use remains controversial in high risk patients who still have gallbladders and in low risk patients after cholecystectomy; long term follow-up studies are essential.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Ampulla of Vater / surgery*
  • Cholecystectomy
  • Duodenoscopy
  • Gallstones / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Methods
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications
  • Risk
  • Time Factors
  • United Kingdom