How Are Pancreatic Stones Treated?

Physicians treat small pancreatic stones by dissolving the stones with medications such as chenodiol or ursodiol, that the patient takes via a pill, explains the Midwest Stone Institute. Surgical treatment options include surgery to divert pancreatic juice around the blockage or to remove part of the pancreas. An endoscopic treatment procedure requires an incision at the opening of the pancreatic duct so surgeons can sweep stones into the small intestines.

Some patients opt for extracorporeal shock wave lithotripsy treatment for pancreatic stones, in which sound waves pulverize and fragment the stones so the broken pieces can flow away from the pancreatic duct, according to the Midwest Stone Institute. This outpatient procedure requires general anesthesia and may produce bruising or abdominal pain as primary side effects. Surgery is the most invasive type of treatment. Many patients with small stones opt for bile-thinning medication that dissolves the stones.

The most common sign or symptom of pancreatic stones is a steady and severe pain in the right side or upper abdomen, explains the Midwest Stone Institute. Pain can last for several hours or just 15 minutes. Abdominal pain commonly feels worse after eating and radiates to the back. Some patients experience sweating and vomiting.