Wire-assisted access sphincterotomy of the minor papilla

John T. Maple*, Rajesh N. Keswani, Steven A. Edmundowicz, Sreenivasa Jonnalagadda, Riad R. Azar

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Background: Recommended techniques for minor papilla sphincterotomy include performing a standard pull-type sphincterotomy (PTS) or using a needle-knife over a stent. A wire-assisted access sphincterotomy (WAAS) technique may hold some technical advantages over these accepted methods, but has not been robustly described. Objective: To describe the safety and efficacy of WAAS compared with PTS in a series of patients from our institution. Design: Retrospective audit of initial minor papilla sphincterotomies over a 6-year period. Demographic and procedural data were abstracted, and the medical record was reviewed for clinical follow-up. Setting: A large tertiary referral center. Patients: One hundred twenty-eight consecutive patients with pancreas divisum who underwent ERCPs between April 2001 and April 2007, 64 of whom underwent an initial minor papilla sphincterotomy. Interventions: WAAS was performed by deeply cannulating the dorsal duct with a guidewire and then passing a needle-knife sphincterotome alongside the wire and cutting the minor papilla by inserting the needle-knife beside the wire and cutting away from the wire. Main Outcome Measurements: Clinical procedural success and reported adverse events. Results: Thirty-two patients had recurrent acute pancreatitis, 15 had pain only, and 13 had chronic pancreatitis. Thirty-two underwent WAAS, 24 had PTS, and 8 had other types of sphincterotomies. Patients undergoing WAAS (32) versus PTS (24) were similar in age, sex, and procedural indication. Mild post-ERCP pancreatitis and mild intraprocedural bleeding occurred more commonly in the WAAS group, although the differences were not statistically significant. Limitations: Retrospective, nonrandomized study. Conclusions: WAAS is an effective technique that may be used either to begin a minor papilla sphincterotomy or to perform the entire sphincterotomy. Complications appear similar to those seen with conventional methods but require a larger patient sample to fully evaluate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)47-54
Number of pages8
JournalGastrointestinal endoscopy
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Gastroenterology


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