Endoscopic sphincterotomy for stones by experts is safe, even in younger patients with normal ducts

Peter B. Cotton, Joseph E. Geenen, Stuart Sherman, John T. Cunningham, Douglas A. Howell, David L. Carr-Locke, Nicholas J. Nickl, Robert H. Hawes, Glen A. Lehman, A. Ferrari, Adam Slivka, David R. Lichtenstein, John Baillie, Paul S. Jowell, Laura M. Lail, Harry Evangelou, John J. Bosco, Brian L. Hanson, Brenda J. Hoffman, Soroya M. RahamanRene Male

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


Objective: To provide current information on the risks of endoscopic sphincterotomy for stone. Summary Background Data: In recent years (since the popularity of laparoscopic cholecystectomy), endoscopic sphincterotomy has been used increasingly for the management of bile duct stones in relatively young and healthy patients. The validity of this trend has been questioned using data on short-term complications derived from earlier decades that involved more elderly and high-risk patients. Methods: Seven academic centers collected data prospectively using a common database. Complications within 30 days of the procedures were documented by standard criteria. Results: Of 1921 patients, 112 (5.8%) developed complications; two thirds of these events were graded as mild (<3 days in hospital). There was no evidence of increased risk in younger patients or in those with smaller bile ducts. There was only one severe complication and there were no fatalities in 238 patients age <60, with bile duct diameters of <9 mm. Conclusion: Sphincterotomy for stones can be performed very safely by experienced endoscopists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-204
Number of pages4
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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