JOURNAL ARTICLE

[Laparoscopic cholecystectomy and lithiasis of the common bile duct: prospective study on the importance of preoperative endoscopic ultrasonography and endoscopic retrograde cholangiography]

B Meduri, A Aubert, R Chiche, J Fritsch
Gastroentérologie Clinique et Biologique 1998, 22 (10): 759-65
9854199

OBJECTIVES: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the standard treatment of symptomatic gallstones. At present, no consensus has been reached on the diagnostic and therapeutic methods of concomitant common bile duct stones. Systematic preoperative endoscopic ultrasonography followed, if necessary, by endoscopic retrograde cholangiography and sphincterotomy during the same anesthetic procedure could be a diagnostic and therapeutic alternative for common bile duct stones making possible a laparoscopic cholecystectomy without intraoperative investigation of the common bile duct.

METHODS: One hundred and twenty-five patients underwent a prospective endoscopic ultrasonographic evaluation prior to laparoscopic cholecystectomy for symptomatic gallstones. Fourty-four patients (35%) had at least one predictive factor for common bile duct stones. Endoscopic ultrasonography and cholecystectomy were performed on the same day. Endoscopic ultrasonography was followed by endoscopic retrograde cholangiography and sphincterotomy by the same endoscopist in case of common bile duct stones on endoscopic ultrasonography. Patients were routinely followed up between 3 and 6 months and one year after cholecystectomy.

RESULTS: Endoscopic ultrasonography suggested common bile duct stones in 21 patients (17%). Endoscopic ultrasonography identified a stone in 17 of 44 patients (38.6%) with predictor of common bile duct stones and only in 4 of 81 patients (4.9%) without predictor of common bile duct stone. Among these 21 patients, one patient was not investigated with endoscopic retrograde cholangiography because of the high risk of sphincterotomy, 19 patients had a stone removed after sphincterotomy, one patient had no visible stone neither on endoscopic retrograde cholangiography, nor on exploration of the common bile duct after sphincterotomy. Endoscopic ultrasonography was normal in 104 patients (83%). However, two patients in this group were investigated with endoscopic retrograde cholangiography because endoscopic ultrasonography was incomplete in one case and because endoscopic ultrasonography was normal in the second case but a stone in the left hepatic duct was detected by ultrasonography. A stone was removed after endoscopic sphincterotomy in these two patients. In the group of 102 patients without stone, 91 out of 92, continued to be asymptomatic during a median follow-up of 8.5 months. One patient with symptoms one month after cholecystectomy underwent endoscopic sphincterotomy but no stone was found.

CONCLUSIONS: Systematic preoperative endoscopic ultrasonography followed, if necessary with endoscopic retrograde cholangiography and sphincterotomy is a diagnostic and therapeutic alternative for common bile duct stones making possible a laparoscopic cholecystectomy without intraoperative investigation of the common bile duct for all patients. This alternative is only justifiable in patients with predictor of common bile duct stones.

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