Major biliary complications in 2,714 cases of laparoscopic cholecystectomy without intraoperative cholangiography: a multicenter retrospective study

Mostafa A Hamad, Ahmad A Nada, Mohamad Y Abdel-Atty, Ahmad S Kawashti
Surgical Endoscopy 2011, 25 (12): 3747-51

BACKGROUND: The ongoing debate between routine and selective users of intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) during laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has not yet come to an end. Routine users argue that IOC decreases the rate of biliary complications such as bile duct injury, biliary leak and missed common bile duct (CBD) stones, a claim that selective users do not fully support. On the other hand, a third policy that was adopted by many other centers is performing LC without IOC. In this retrospective study, we are exploring the results of a relatively large multicenter series of LC without IOC regarding major biliary complications.

METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis of LC cases operated by experienced laparoscopic surgeons, without resorting to IOC, in four surgical units of university hospitals in Egypt during a 6-year period (January 2004 through December 2009). Excluded from the study were cases with positive predictors of CBD stones, namely, sonographically detected CBD dilatation and/or CBD stones, elevated bilirubin and/or alkaline phosphatase, persistent biliary pancreatitis, cholangitis, and those who had preoperative magnetic resonance cholangiography.

RESULTS: Of the 2,955 cases of LC reviewed, 241 were excluded, leaving 2,714 cases enrolled in the study. Fifty-five cases (2%) were converted to open surgery. Five cases (0.18%) had major bile duct injuries requiring surgical repair. Postoperative bile leakage was encountered in seven cases (0.26%). Missed CBD stones were reported in six cases (0.22%). There was no perioperative mortality in the present study.

CONCLUSION: LC can be performed safely without the use of IOC, with acceptable low rates of biliary complications provided that proper detection of patients with silent CBD stones is done and facilities for pre- and postoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography are available.

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