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Intraoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to remove common bile duct stones during routine laparoscopic cholecystectomy does not prolong hospitalization: a 2-year experience

L Enochsson, B Lindberg, F Swahn, U Arnelo
Surgical Endoscopy 2004, 18 (3): 367-71
14752630

BACKGROUND: There is still some controversy regarding the optimal timing and best method for the removal of common bile duct stones (CBDS). Intraoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography (IO-ERCP) is an alternative method that should be considered for this procedure. The aim of our study was to investigate the clinical outcome of a single-step procedure (IO-ERCP) to remove CBDS, thereby combining two existing high-volume clinical modalities-i.e., laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) and ERCP.

METHODS: Between January 2000 and December 2001, 674 patients, 192 male and 482 female, underwent cholecystectomy at our hospital. There were 612 LC (90.8%), 37 converted procedures (5.5%), and 25 open operations (3.7%). In 592 of the patients, (87.8%) intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) was performed. In 34 (5.7%) of those who had and IOC, an IO-ERCP was performed. While the surgeon waited for the endoscopist, care was taken to introduce a thin guidewire through the lOC catheter and pass it through the sphincter of Oddi, out into the duodenum. This complementary procedure greatly facilitated the subsequent cannulation of the bile ducts.

RESULTS: The cannulation frequency of the CBD was 100%. Common bile duct stones were successfully extracted in 93.5%. Endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST), followed by the insertion of a plastic endoprosthesis, was performed in two patients with remaining stones. The CBD of these two patients was cleared by postoperative ERCP. None of the patients developed postoperative pancreatitis. The operating time was prolonged as compared with the time for LC (192 vs 110 mins; p < 0.05). The length of hospitalization for IO-ERCP patients did not differ from that for patients undergoing cholecystectomy alone (2.6 vs 2.1. days; NS).

CONCLUSIONS: The study suggests that elective IO-ERCP is a safe and efficient method for removing CBDS that has a low risk of inducing postoperative pancreatitis and does not prolong postoperative hospitalization. This technique enables perioperative extraction of CBDS without open or laparoscopic surgical exploration of the CBD and can be used safely in a routine clinical setting.

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