Single-stage vs. two-stage management for concomitant gallstones and common bile duct stones: a prospective randomized trial with long-term follow-up

Guoqian Ding, Wang Cai, Mingfang Qin
Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery: Official Journal of the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2014, 18 (5): 947-51

AIM: The preferred approach to the management of common bile duct (CBD) stones is uncertain, with single-stage laparoscopic cholecystectomy and CBD exploration vs. two-stage preoperative endoscopic CBD clearance followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy being debated. To address this, a prospective randomized study which compared these two management strategies was undertaken.

METHODS: Between Jan 2002 and Dec 2005, patients with gallstones and common bile duct stones diagnosed by preoperative ultrasonography and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography were randomized to single-stage vs. two-stage treatment. In a single-stage group, laparoscopic cholecystectomy and CBD exploration were undertaken at the same operation, whereas in a two-stage group, endoscopic stone clearance was followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy 2-5 days later. Early treatment success and complications and longer-term follow-up for the two groups were compared.

RESULTS: Two hundred twenty-one patients were enrolled in the trial, 110 in the single-stage group and 111 in the two-stage group. There was no significant difference in the success rate of CBD clearance (93.6 vs. 94.6%, p = 0.76) or the complication rates (3.6 vs. 5.1%, p = 0.527) between the groups. However, at longer-term follow-up, recurrent CBD stones were seen more often in the two-stage group (9.5 vs. 2.1%, p = 0.037).

CONCLUSION: The single-stage and two-stage approaches were equally effective in achieving initial clearance of CBD stones. However, recurrent CBD stones occurred more commonly in patients who had undergone two-stage treatment with initial endoscopic stone clearance, followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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