Management of Choledocholithiasis in the Era of Laparoscopic Surgery

Hawasli, Abdelkader; Lloyd, Larry; Cacucci, Brenda
May 2000
American Surgeon;May2000, Vol. 66 Issue 5, p425
Academic Journal
Laparoscopic biliary surgery is changing the management of choledocholithiasis. Between November 1989 and December 1998, 2834 cholecystectomies were performed at two institutions. Choledocholithiasis was suspected in 420 patients on the basis of elevated preoperative laboratory and ultrasound criteria [bilirubin, alkaline phosphatase, serum glutamic-oxaloacetic transaminase, serum glutamate pyruvate transaminase, and common bile duct (CBD) size. One hundred seventeen patients had preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) because of persistent elevation in their enzymes beyond 24 to 48 hours or as an emergency. Laparoscopic intraoperative cholangiogram was attempted in 329 patients whose enzymes fell rapidly within the first 24 to 48 hours or had a failed ERCP. Eighty-one of the 329 were found to have stones. Seventy-three had laparoscopic attempt to clear the CBD, with success in 62 patients (85%). This included 41 transcystic duct and 21 direct CBD exploration. Eight patients had postoperative ERCP for retained stones. Six (0.25%) were in patients with normal preoperative enzymes. We conclude that choledocholithiasis can be suspected with preoperative laboratory and ultrasound criteria. By waiting 24 to 48 hours (except in an emergency), a good number of CBD stones will pass. With increases in laparoscopic experience, laparoscopic removal of CBD stones may replace preoperative ERCP. The small number of cases of retained or missed stones that occur with the use of selective cholangiography can be easily handled with postoperative ERCP.


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