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Efficacy of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the pediatric population.

PURPOSE: Gallbladder disease is increasingly affecting the pediatric population. The advent of new technology in the 1980s, specifically, hepatobiliary scintigraphy and laparoscopic cholecystectomy, gave a dramatic rise in both the diagnosis and treatment of biliary disease in the pediatric population. The purpose of this study was to determine (a) whether laparoscopic cholecystectomy for biliary dyskinesia is efficacious in the treatment of children with biliary colic and (b) the ability of cholescintigraphy to predict which patients may benefit from an operative intervention.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective review of the records of all patients (N = 184) who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy, correlating postoperative results with degree of dyskinesia (percentage of ejection fraction), histopathology, associated gastrointestinal diagnoses, age, and sex. Biliary dyskinesia was defined by ultrasonography without evidence of cholelithiasis with clinical diagnosis of biliary colic.

RESULTS: Of the 184 patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy, 117 had a diagnosis of biliary dyskinesia and 108 were available for follow-up. Mean follow-up was 8.3 months. One hundred patients (92.6%) reported resolution or improvement of preoperative symptoms (64.8% reported complete resolution and 27.8% reported improvement in symptoms). The mean age of the patients was 14.1 years. No correlation was seen for degree of dyskinesia, histopathology, age, and sex. Patients with a preoperative diagnosis of gastroesophageal reflux were more likely to report resolution of symptoms, although this finding was not statistically significant. There was no major complication; 1 patient suffered a prolonged ileus, 1 patient suffered a wound infection, and 1 patient required incisional hernia repair.

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is safe, efficacious, and durable in children suffering from biliary dyskinesia.

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