The role of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and cholangiography in the laparoscopic era

J Korman, J Cosgrove, M Furman, I Nathan, J Cohen
Annals of Surgery 1996, 223 (2): 212-6

OBJECTIVE: The authors reviewed the results of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and intraoperative cholangiography in a series of patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: The indications for preoperative and postoperative ERCP and intraoperative cholangiography as adjuncts to laparoscopic cholecystectomy are evolving. The debate regarding the use of selective or routine intraoperative cholangiography has intensified with the advent of laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

METHODS: The authors reviewed the records of 343 consecutive patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy during a 1-year period. Historical, biochemical, and radiologic findings for the patients who underwent ERCP and intraoperative cholangiography were analyzed.

RESULTS: Three hundred forty- three patients underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy during the period reviewed. Preoperative ERCP was performed in 42 patients. Twenty-seven of these patients (64%) had common bile duct (CBD) stones, which were cleared with a sphincterotomy. Intraoperative cholangiography was performed for 101 patients (29%). Three cholangiograms had false- positive results (3%), leading to two CBD explorations, in which no CBD stones were found, and one normal ERCP. Six patients underwent postoperative ERCP, three for the removal of retained CBD stones (0.9%), all of which were cleared with a sphincterotomy. Fifteen patients had gallstone pancreatitis, six of whom had CBD stones (40%) that were cleared by ERCP. There were 33 complications (10%) and no CBD injuries.

CONCLUSION: The use of routine intraoperative cholangiography is discouraged in view of its low yield and the significant rate of false positive cholangiogram results.

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