Aim: To determine the rates of success and complications of precut biliary sphincterotomy (PBS) based on prior experience and to compare the complication rates between PBS and standard endoscopic sphincterotomy (FS). Methods: A retrospective evaluation of prospectively collected non-randomized data at an academic tertiary referral center. The study included all patients in an eight-year period who underwent PBS and ES by a single endoscopist who had no formal training in PBS. The main outcome measures of the study were success and complications of PBS with a comparison to complications of ES. Results: A total of 2939 endoscopic retrograde chola ngiopancreatographies (ERCPs) were performed during the study period, including 818 (28%) ES and 150 (5%) PBS procedures. Selective biliary cannulation via PBS was successful at the first attempt in 75% of the patients. Cannulation was achieved in an additional 13% of the patients at a subsequent attempt (total 87%). Complication rate from PBS was 45% higher than ES, but did not differ significantly [7% (10/50) vs 5% (38/ 818), P = 0.29]. None of the complications from PBS was severe. A significant trend towards increasing success existed with regard to the endoscopist's first attempt at precut (P = 0.0393, Cochran-Armitage exact test for trend, Z = -1.7588). Conclusion: Despite the lack of specific training in this technique, PBS was performed with a high success rate and a complication rate similar to or less than reports from other experienced centers. These results suggest that endoscopic experience and perhaps innate endoscopic skill may play an important role in the outcome of this procedure. © 2007 The WJG Press. All rights reserved.