• balloon dilation;
  • bile duct stone;
  • cholangiopancreatography;
  • endoscopic retrograde;
  • sphincterotomy


To evaluate the efficacy and safety of endoscopic papillary large-balloon dilation (EPLBD) combined with limited endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST) for the removal of large biliary duct stones (≥10 mm).


Data of patients who underwent an attempted removal of large bile duct stones by limited EST followed by EPLBD (≥12 mm in diameter) from April 2006 to October 2011 in our center were reviewed. Clinical characteristics, endoscopic methods and outcomes of the patients were collected and analyzed.


A total of 169 patients with a mean age of 69.3 years (range 19–97 years) underwent 171 procedures. Median stone size and balloon diameter was 15 mm and 13 mm, respectively. Complete stone removal in a single session was achieved in 163 procedures (95.3%) with mechanical lithotripsy (ML) used in 66 (38.6%). Patients with a larger stone size required more frequent use of ML with a comparable success rate (P < 0.01). There were no significant differences between patients with and without periampullary diverticula in stone clearance (97.3% vs 93.8%), ML requirement (36.5% vs 40.2%) and complications (2.7% vs 6.2%) (all P > 0.05). Seven patients had eight procedure-related complications including moderate or mild bleeding (n = 4), minor perforation (n = 1), mild pancreatitis (n = 2) and cholangitis (n = 1).


EPLBD following limited EST is an effective and safe approach for the removal of large biliary duct stones, especially for those refractory cases.