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Update on biliary and pancreatic sphincterotomy

Bakman, Yan; Freeman, Martin L.

Current Opinion in Gastroenterology: September 2012 - Volume 28 - Issue 5 - p 420–426
doi: 10.1097/MOG.0b013e32835672f3
ENDOSCOPY: Edited by Anthony N. Kalloo

Purpose of review To summarize the indications, success rates and complications associated with endoscopic sphincterotomy and endoscopic balloon dilation (EBD).

Recent findings Pancreatic and/or biliary sphincterotomies are essential components of most current therapeutic endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). A current large body of evidence has established biliary sphincterotomy as effective in extraction of bile duct stones. The most common complications of biliary sphincterotomy are post-ERCP pancreatitis, as well as acute or delayed hemorrhage, the risks for which can be stratified according to well described patient and procedure related factors. Evidence is accumulating that pancreatic sphincterotomy is useful in at least some settings for treatment of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction, chronic pancreatitis, and pancreas divisum. EBD provides an adjunct or an alternative to biliary sphincterotomy for extraction of stones from the bile duct when routine biliary sphincterotomy is inadequate or risk excessive.

Summary Sphincterotomy and EBD are useful in managing a variety of pancreatobiliary conditions. Attention to risks of these procedures is essential for their efficacy and safety.

University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

Correspondence to Martin L. Freeman, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, 406 Harvard St SE, MMC36, Minneapolis, MN 55455, USA. Tel: +1 612 625 8999; fax: +1 612 625 5620; e-mail:

© 2012 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.