Dissolution of gallstones using methyl tertiary-butyl ether in an animal model

John P McGahan, H. Tesluk, J. M. Brook, R. Johnston, D. B. Shaul

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Human gallstones were surgically implanted in the gallbladders of six pigs. Through cholecystostomy catheters, methyl tertiary-butyl ether (MTBE) was infused from 3 to 5 days. MTBE successfully dissolved 19 of the 20 cholesterol stones and partially dissolved one mixed cholesterol-bilirubin stone. Gross and microscopic examination of abdominal organs revealed mild superficial ulcerations of the gallbladder and mild to moderate chronic inflammatory changes in the gallbladder of animals treated with MTBE infusion. There were no other significant changes within other abdominal organs except for mild inflammation of the duodenum in one animal and of the common bile duct in another. Because of its efficacy and limited deleterious effects, MTBE may be a good solvent when dissolving pure cholesterol gallstones in the gallbladder.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-603
Number of pages5
JournalInvestigative Radiology
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1988

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


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