Primary Recurrent Common Bile Duct Stones: Timing of Surgical Intervention

Subhi Mansour, Yoram Kluger, Safi Khuri


Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is a very common medical problem worldwide, with 5-30% of patients demonstrating a combined condition of cholelithiasis and choledocholithiasis (common bile duct stones (CBDS)). CBDS are usually classified as primary or secondary stones. Primary CBDS are defined as stones detected 2 years or more following cholecystectomy, while secondary stones, the most common type, usually migrate from the gallbladder to the bile ducts. Recurrent CBDS are defined as stones detected 6 months or more following endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) with complete duct clearance. Although ERCP with endoscopic sphincterotomy has emerged as the main therapeutic option for CBDS, with up to 95% bile duct clearance rate, up to 25% of said patients develop recurrent bile duct stones. Thus far, several issues related to recurrent CBDS are still unclear and questions regarding this specific pathology have no precise answers: how many trials of ERCP and endoscopic sphincterotomy should be attempted before referring the patient for surgical management? Is there an association between risk factors and early surgical intervention? Thus, currently, there is no worldwide scientific-based consensus regarding the best management of this specific group of patients. The main issue for this article is to review the relevant English literature and find out the main high risk factors for recurrent CBDS, and form a diagnostic and treatment plan, hence, identifying the subgroup of patients that will benefit from early surgical management, preventing further ERCP-associated complications.

J Clin Med Res. 2022;14(11):441-447


Recurrent CBDS; ERCP; Endoscopic sphincterotomy; Risk factors; Surgical intervention

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