The rotary gallstone lithotrite to aid gallbladder extraction in laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Jonathan M. Sackier, John G. Hunter, Margaret Paz-Partlow, Alfred Cuschieri

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


During laparoscopic cholecystectomy, a large stone burden may cause difficulty when extracting the gallbladder through the abdominal wall. Currently, the alternatives available to the surgeon include increasing the incision, removing stones singly, or utilizing complex fragmentation techniques like the pulsed dye laser [1]. We have employed an electromechanical rotary gallstone lithotrite (RGL) to fragment stones to an aspiratable size. Initially, cholesterol spheres were pulverized in a latex balloon to demonstrate the efficacy of the device. Then, human gallstones were placed in the balloon and reduced to fragments less than or equal to 1 mm from initial sizes of 4-24 mm. Human stones were then inserted in ex vivo porcine gallbladders in a controlled experiment and treated with the device. Ten out of 12 tests were completed within 30 s; one test required 49 s and one 105 s to achieve complete fragmentation. Blinded histological evaluation demonstrated that tissue abrasion caused by use of the device would not interfere with the diagnosis of unsuspected malignancy. Clinical trials have now commenced under the auspices of the hospital ethical committee.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-238
Number of pages4
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 1 1992
Externally publishedYes


  • Gallstones
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Lithotripsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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