Timing of cholecystectomy after endoscopic sphincterotomy for common bile duct stones

Anandi H W Schiphorst, Marc G H Besselink, Djamila Boerma, Robin Timmer, Marinus J Wiezer, Karel J van Erpecum, Ivo A M J Broeders, Bert van Ramshorst
Surgical Endoscopy 2008, 22 (9): 2046-50

BACKGROUND: According to the literature, the conversion rate for laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) after endoscopic sphincterotomy (ES) for cholecystodocholithiasis reaches 20%, at least when LC is performed 6 to 8 weeks afterward. It is hypothesized that early planned LC after ES prevents recurrent biliary complications and reduces operative morbidity and hospital stay.

METHODS: All consecutive patients who underwent LC after ES between 2001 and 2004 were retrospectively evaluated. Recurrent biliary complications during the waiting time for LC, conversion rate, postoperative complications, and hospital stay were documented.

RESULTS: This study analyzed 167 consecutive patients (59 men) with a median age of 54 years. The median interval between ES and LC was 7 weeks (range, 1-49 weeks). During the waiting time for LC, 33 patients (20%) had recurrent biliary complications including cholecystitis (n = 18, 11%), recurrent choledocholithiasis (n = 9, 5%), cholangitis (n = 4, 2%), and biliary pancreatitis (n = 2, 1%). Of these 33 patients, 15 underwent a second endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERC). The median time between ES and the development of recurrent complications was 22 days (range, 3-225 days). Most of the biliary complications (76%) occurred more than 1 week after ES. Conversion to open cholecystectomy occurred for 7 of 33 patients with recurrent complications during the waiting period, compared with 13 of 134 patients with an uncomplicated waiting period (p = 0.14). This concurred with doubled postoperative morbidity (24% vs 11%; p = 0.09) and a longer hospital stay (median, 4 vs 2 days; p < 0.001).

CONCLUSION: In this retrospective analysis, 20% of all patients had recurrent biliary complications during the waiting period for cholecystectomy after ES. These recurrent complications were associated with a significantly longer hospital stay. Cholecystectomy within 1 week after ES may prevent recurrent biliary complications in the majority of cases and reduce the postoperative hospital stay.

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