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Bile Duct Stones Treatment Information
These procedures and services may be part of your diagnosis and treatment for bile duct stones:
- Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). This procedure uses an endoscope (small, flexible tube with light) and X-rays to identify stones and other problems in your upper digestive tract, including the bile duct. When you undergo ERCP, you are usually put to sleep using general anesthesia. The procedure usually takes 15 to 60 minutes. A physician moves the endoscope down your throat, into your esophagus, through your stomach, and to the start of your small intestine. We usually do the procedure on an outpatient basis. It is possible to undergo ERCP in an emergency situation if you have an infection of the bile duct that does not get better with antibiotics.
- Sphincterotomy. You receive this procedure at the same time as ERCP. Your physician cuts the muscular sphincter of your bile duct or pancreatic duct, allowing stones to be removed more easily. To expand the opening, a small incision is made with an electrical current that cauterizes (burns) tissue.
- Stone removal. After a sphincterotomy, stones may pass on their own. However, your physician can also remove bile duct stones with a special basket or use an inflatable balloon to sweep the duct. Additionally, larger stones may need to be crushed before being removed. In this process, called mechanical lithotripsy, the stones are smashed by a steel sheath. Another method, electrohydraulic lithotripsy, uses a probe to break up the stones via sound waves, generated by electricity. Your physician may also use extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy, which sends shock waves through your abdominal wall from outside your body to break up bile duct stones.
- Stent placement. Once your blocked or narrowed duct is widened, your physician can place a stent (a small plastic or metal tube) in the duct to keep it open. This can help with duct drainage.
- Drainage. If attempts at stone removal are not successful, your doctor may use a stent or a nasobiliary drainage tube. The nasobiliary tube is a long tube, which is placed via an endoscopic procedure, drains fluid from your bile duct, through your nose and out of your body. After placement, you remain in the hospital for a few days for monitoring.
- Cholecystectomy. This surgery involves removing the gallbladder, a non-essential organ. The traditional “open” version of this procedure often requires a hospital stay of four days or more plus four weeks or more of recovery at home. A laparoscopic (minimally invasive) version uses smaller incisions (cuts) and generally allows you to go home the same day or the next day.
Bile Duct Stones Locations & Physicians
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Bile Duct Stones Support Services
Visit these websites to learn more about bile duct stones:
A Sampling of Bile Duct Stones Support Services
Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute
This institute lets you to search for Indiana clinical research studies where you might be qualified to participate.
This U.S. government website explains the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of bile duct stones in patient-friendly terms.