Early versus delayed single-stage laparoscopic eradication for both gallstones and common bile duct stones in mild acute biliary pancreatitis

John Griniatsos, Evangelos Karvounis, Alberto Isla
American Surgeon 2005, 71 (8): 682-6
Several studies addressed that preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for common bile duct (CBD) clearance, followed by interval laparoscopic cholecystectomy (two-stage approach), constitutes the most common practice in cases of uncomplicated mild acute biliary pancreatitis. Between June 1998 and December 2002, 44 patients (35 females and 9 males with a median age of 62 years) suffering from uncomplicated mild acute biliary pancreatitis were treated in our unit. All patients were electively submitted to surgery after subsidence of the acute symptoms, and for definitive treatment we favored the single-stage laparoscopic management, avoiding preoperative ERCP. All patients underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy plus fluoroscopic intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC). If filling defect(s) were detected in the IOC, a finding suggestive of concomitant choledocholithiasis, laparoscopic common bile duct exploration (LCBDE) was added in the same sitting. Twenty patients were operated upon within 2 weeks since the attack of the acute symptoms and constitute the early group (n=20), whereas 24 patients underwent an operation later on and constitute the delay group (n=24). We retrospectively compare the safety, effectiveness, and outcome after the single-stage laparoscopic management between the two groups of patients. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy alone constituted the definitive treatment in 38 patients, while an additional LCBDE was performed in the remaining 6 patients (14%), and all operations were achieved laparoscopically. There was no statistically significant difference between the groups in terms of operative time, incidence of concomitant choledocholithiasis, morbidity rate, and postoperative hospital stay. During the follow-up, none of the patients experienced recurrent pancreatitis. In uncomplicated mild acute biliary pancreatitis cases, a single-stage definitive laparoscopic management, avoiding preoperative ERCP, can be safely performed during the same admission, after the improvement of symptoms and local inflammation. Postoperative ERCP should be selectively used in patients in whom the single-stage method failed to resolve the problem.

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