Intended for healthcare professionals

Research Article

Gall-stone dissolution and recurrence: are we being misled?

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982; 284 doi: (Published 01 May 1982) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1982;284:1295
  1. K W Somerville,
  2. D H Rose,
  3. G D Bell,
  4. W R Ellis,
  5. D R Knapp


    Oral cholecystography repeated at six-months intervals is the standard method for determining reduction in size of gall stones (partial success) and complete dissolution of stones (complete success). In a comparative study of oral cholecystography and cholecystosonography six out of 14 patients with gall stones achieving complete success by oral cholecystographic criteria had stones still detectable by ultrasonography. Repeat oral cholecystography in a further 11 patients receiving post-dissolution maintenance treatment detected stones in two, whereas ultrasonography detected stones in seven. In future complete dissolution of gall stones should be reported only if both oral cholecystography and ultrasonographic studies give negative results and the progress of patients receiving post-dissolution maintenance treatment is monitored by ultrasonography rather than serial oral cholecystography.