Laparoscopic cholecystectomy in biliary pancreatitis

L D Graham, R G Burrus, R P Burns, K E Chandler, D E Barker
American Surgeon 1994, 60 (1): 40-3
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has emerged as the treatment of choice for uncomplicated cholelithiasis. Despite early concerns, many surgeons have applied this new technique to more complicated biliary tract disease states, including biliary pancreatitis. To evaluate the safety of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in this setting, we retrospectively reviewed 29 patients with clinical and laboratory evidence of biliary pancreatitis who underwent this procedure between March 1990 and December 1992. The severity of pancreatitis was determined by Ranson's criteria. Two patients had a Ranson's score of 6, one of 5, one of 4, five scored 3, nine scored 2, nine also scored 1, and two patients scored 0. The mean serum amylase level on admission was 1,610 (range 148 to 7680). All patients underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy during the same hospital admission for biliary pancreatitis, with the mean time of operation being 5.5 days from admission. Operative time averaged 123 minutes (range 60-220 minutes). Intraoperative cholangiography was obtained in 76 per cent of patients. Three patients had choledocholithiasis on intraoperative cholangiography and were treated with choledochoscopy, laparoscopic common bile duct exploration, and saline flushing of the duct. The mean length of hospital stay was 11 days (range 5-32 days). There were seven postoperative complications requiring prolonged hospitalization with all but one treated non-operatively. One patient with a preoperative Ranson score of 6 developed necrotizing pancreatitis and subsequently required operative pancreatic debridement and drainage. There were no deaths in this series and no postoperative wound infections. The average recovery period for return to work was 2 weeks. These statistics compare favorably with literature reports for open cholecystectomy in biliary pancreatitis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)


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