Safety Parameters for the Use of Holmium:YAG Laser in the Treatment of Biliary Calculi: The Ex-Vivo Model

Sandeep Patel, Dustin Kiker, Utpal Mondal, Hari Sayana, Shreyas Saligram, Laura Rosenkranz, Samuel Han

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background and Objectives: While studies have demonstrated the efficacy of cholangioscopy-guided Holmium-Yttrium aluminum garnet (Ho:YAG) laser lithotripsy for the treatment of refractory bile duct stones, data regarding the safety of the operating parameters for laser lithotripsy are lacking. The aim of this study was to determine safe, yet effective, energy settings for Ho:YAG laser in the ex-vivo model. Materials and Methods: This ex vivo experimental study utilized the Ho:YAG laser on porcine bile duct epithelium and human gallstones. Ho:YAG laser lithotripsy was applied in different power settings from 8 to 15 Watts (W) to six explanted porcine bile ducts. Settings that appeared safe were then utilized to fragment seventy-three human gallstones. Results: The median bile duct perforation times with the Ho:YAG laser between 8–15 W were: >60 s (8 W); 23 s (9 W); 29 s (10 W); 27 s (12 W); 12 s (14 W); and 8 s (15 W). Statistically significant differences in the median perforation times were noted between 8 W vs. 15 W, 9 W vs. 15 W, 10 W vs. 15 W, and 12 W vs. 15 W (p < 0.05). When using a 365 µm Ho:YAG laser probe at 8–12 W, the fragmentation rates on various size stones were: 100% (<1.5 cm); 80–100% (1.6–2.0 cm) and 0–32% (>2.0 cm). Optimal fragmentation was seen utilizing 12 W with high energy (2.4 J) and low frequency (5 Hz) settings. Using a larger 550 µm probe at these settings resulted in 100% fragmentation of stones larger than 2 cm. Conclusions: The Ho:YAG laser appears to be safe and effective in the treatment of large bile duct stones when used between 8–12 W in 5 s bursts in an ex vivo model utilizing porcine bile ducts and human gallstones.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number346
JournalMedicina (Lithuania)
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2024


  • cholangioscopy
  • choledocholithiasis
  • holmium
  • laser lithotripsy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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