Intraoperative cholangiography and postoperative pancreatitis

S Morgan, L W Traverso
Surgical Endoscopy 2000, 14 (3): 264-6

BACKGROUND: It has been suggested that intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) can cause postoperative pancreatitis.

METHODS: We studied the relationship between IOC and pancreatitis by reviewing the case histories of 500 patients (1992-97) who underwent cholecystectomy at our institution. In 82% of cases, the cholecystectomies were done laparoscopically, whereas, 7% were converted to an open procedure. An IOC was performed in 435/500, or 87%. During these studies, common bile duct (CBD) stones (or the possibility of a stone) were noted in 14% of the cases. An intraoperative CBD investigation was required in nine of 435 cases or 8.5%, while 28/435 (9.2%) underwent postoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).

RESULTS: Follow-up was available in 90% of our patients (452/500). We found six cases of postoperative pancreatitis; only three of 452 (0.6%) occurred <1 year after cholecystectomy. None of these patients had a preoperative history of pancreatitis. In all six cases, there appeared to be an etiology for the pancreatitis unrelated to IOC.

CONCLUSION: We could find no statistical association between IOC and postoperative pancreatitis. Postoperative pancreatitis is uncommon at our institution, where routine IOC is employed. Therefore, we conclude that IOC does not cause pancreatitis.

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