• Retained or recurrent bile duct stones can be successfully removed in up to 80% to 85% of patients with the use of percutaneous or endoscopic techniques. However, problems related to difficult biliary access, large stones, and biliary strictures may decrease the success rate of this approach. We evaluated the safety and efficacy of extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy (ESWL) in 16 patients with complicated biliary stones treated prospectively over a 24-month period. Successful stone fragmentation was achieved in 15 patients (94%) using a Dornier HM3 lithotripter (average of 2290 shocks at 22 kV). Three patients (19%) required a second ESWL treatment. Biliary clearance of stone fragments was spontaneous in seven (43%) of the patients and required additional treatment in eight (57%) of the patients. Complications from ESWL were minor and included transient hematuria and ecchymoses at the skin entry site. Extracorporeal shock-wave lithotripsy failed in one patient (6%) with a biliary stricture and surgery was required. At hospital discharge, all patients were asymptomatic and stone free. Treatment with ESWL appears to be a safe and effective adjunct for selected patients with complex biliary stone disease.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:829-835)