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A Grading System for Assessing the Status of the Sphincter of Oddi During Intraoperative Choledochoscopy: A Surgeon's Perspective.

BACKGROUND: The aim of this study was to establish a simple and practical grading system for evaluating the status of the sphincter of Oddi (SO) during intraoperative choledochoscopy. This system helps identify relevant variables that influence the status of the SO and provides recommendations for preventing stone recurrence.

METHODS: Ninety-three patients were selected retrospectively from a total of 316 patients diagnosed with choledocholithiasis between July 2020 and June 2023. All patients underwent common bile duct (CBD) exploration surgery and intraoperative choledochoscopy. The status of the SO was assessed during choledochoscopy. According to the severity of the condition, the patients were categorized into 4 groups. Data from each group, grades 1, 2, 3, 4, was analyzed statistically.

RESULTS: The number of patients in grade 1 was significantly lower than that of the other 3 groups. Except for grade 1, patients in grade 4 exhibited significant differences compared with the other 2 groups in terms of the diameter of the CBD, size of stones, presence of pneumobilia, and history of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) (P<0.05). There were no significant differences between the groups in terms of sex, age, liver function, number of stones, history of gastrectomy, cholecystectomy, or CBD exploration.

CONCLUSIONS: The grading system helps us classify different sphincter functions and better understand the formation of choledocholithiasis by subdividing the status of the SO. Endoscopic sphincterotomy (EST) treatment can easily result in the loss of SO function, which increases the risk of stone recurrence.

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