Other treatment options for
gallstones are not widely available. Less is known
about their effectiveness and long-term impact compared to surgery.
Other treatment choices
Other treatments for gallstones in the gallbladder
Lithotripsy. This procedure uses
ultrasound waves to break up gallstones. It may be used alone or along with
bile acids to break up stones. The procedure, which is now rarely performed,
has been used for people who have long-term (chronic) inflammation of the
gallbladder (cholecystitis) and who are not strong enough for surgery. But it
is not appropriate in treating sudden (acute)
Contact dissolution therapy. This treatment uses a
thin, flexible tube called a catheter to place a chemical in the gallbladder to
dissolve gallstones. This therapy is rarely used because of the risk of
complications. And unlike with surgery, gallstones may return.
Percutaneous cholecystostomy. This procedure may provide
temporary relief for an inflamed gallbladder until an endoscopic retrograde
cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) or surgery can be performed. During percutaneous
cholecystostomy, a doctor places a tube through the abdomen and into the
gallbladder to drain its contents. This sometimes is done for people who are
not strong enough for surgery.
Other treatments for gallstones in the common bile duct
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) with endoscopic sphincterotomy.
In an ERCP, a doctor gently moves a flexible, lighted viewing instrument (endoscope) down your throat and through your stomach
to examine the tubes that drain your liver and gallbladder. If you have a
gallstone in the common bile duct, the gallstone can sometimes be removed
through the endoscope.