Laparoscopic cholecystectomy and common bile duct stones. The utility of planned perioperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiography and sphincterotomy: experience with 63 patients.


OBJECTIVE: Planned perioperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERC) and sphincterotomy (ES) for suspected or proven common bile duct stones (CBDS) has been attempted in 63 of 540 consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). Experience with this intervention has been studied with respect to accuracy, efficacy, and safety. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: The optimal management of CBDSs in the era of LC is not defined. Methods exist for the laparoscopic manipulation of the common bile duct; however, experience is limited. Until surgeons become comfortable with this more demanding technique, ERC and ES will have a prominent role in the perioperative management of CBDSs. METHODS: A preoperative group (n = 41) included all candidates for LC with historical, biochemical, or radiologic evidence of CBDSs. A postoperative LC group (n = 22) included patients with stones diagnosed by intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC) (n = 6) or with signs or symptoms of retained, but unproven, CBDSs (n = 16). RESULTS: Thirty-six (88%) of the preoperative attempts were successful. Stones were identified in 18 cases and ES and duct clearance were achieved in all 18. In the postoperative group, ERC was successful in 21 (95%) cases. Calculi were demonstrated in 5 of 6 patients with a positive IOC and 6 of 16 with clinically suspected retained stones. ES and duct clearance were achieved in all 11 patients with documented CBDSs. Overall, ERC was accomplished in 90% of cases. Stones were identified in 51% of cases and all stones were cleared by ES. Morbidity was confined to four cases of self-limited pancreatitis (6%). There were no deaths. CONCLUSIONS: The perioperative management of CBDSs is an appealing approach for patients anticipating the benefits of LC, at least until the laparoscopic manipulation of the common bile duct becomes a more widely accepted technique.

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