BACKGROUND: The treatment of intrahepatic stones is difficult because of frequent recurrence and residual stones. There are several suggested methods of treatment which include surgical bile-uct exploration with or without biliary drainage, an endoscopic procedure, transhepatic cholangiolithotomy, and hepatic resection. METHODS: We reviewed the therapeutic results in 96 patients who had hepatolithiasis and received surgery at Soon Chun Hyang University Chunan Hospital during the 10 years from June 1987 to June 1997. We divided them into 2 groups: one was the group of patients receiving a hepatic resection with or without a drainage procedure (resection group), and the other was the group of patients receiving only a T-ube choledochostomy or drainage procedure (nonresection group). RESULTS: The male-to-female ratio was 1:1.74, and the most prevalent age group was the 5th decade (31.3%). The most common symptoms were epigastric pain (61%) and RUQ pain (60%), and the locations of stones were the right intrahepatic duct in 10 cases (10.4%), the left intrahepatic duct in 47 cases (49%), and both intrahepatic duct in 39 cases (40.6%). Operative methods were a resection in 29 cases and a nonresection in 67 cases. The incidence of residual stones were 31.0% in the hepatic resection group and 68.6% in the nonresection group. The postoperative complication rate was 20.6% in hepatic resection group and 38.8% in the nonresection group, and the follow-p study showed the good results (Good & Fair) for 92.5% of the hepatic resection group and 66.7% of the nonresection group. CONCLUSION: The hepatic resection with or without drainage is an adequate treatment for hepatolithiasis. It can eradicate localized intrahepatic calculi, irreversible biliary stricture, an atrophied segment, and, possibly, an associated cholangiocarcinoma, with good results in clinical evaluation.