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Treatment of bile duct lesions after laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
  1. J J Bergman,
  2. G R van den Brink,
  3. E A Rauws,
  4. L de Wit,
  5. H Obertop,
  6. K Huibregtse,
  7. G N Tytgat,
  8. D J Gouma
  1. Department of Gastroenterology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


    From January 1990 to June 1994, 53 patients who sustained bile duct injuries during laparoscopic cholecystectomy were treated at the Amsterdam Academic Medical Centre. There were 16 men and 37 women with a mean age of 47 years. Follow up was established in all patients for a median of 17 months. Four types of ductal injury were identified. Type A (18 patients) had leakage from cystic ducts or peripheral hepatic radicles, type B (11 patients) had major bile duct leakage, type C (nine patients) had an isolated ductal stricture, and type D (15 patients) had complete transection of the bile duct. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) established the diagnosis in all type A, B, and C lesions. In type D lesions percutaneous cholangiography was required to delineate the proximal extent of the injury. Initial treatment (until resolution of symptoms and discharge from hospital) comprised endoscopy in 36 patients and surgery in 26 patients. Endoscopic treatment was possible and successful in 16 of 18 of type A lesions, five of seven of type B lesions, and three of nine of type C lesions. Most failures resulted from inability to pass strictures or leaks at the initial endoscopy. During initial treatment additional surgery was required in seven patients. Fourteen patients underwent percutaneous or surgical drainage of bile collections, or both. After endoscopic treatment early complications occurred in three patients, with a fatal outcome in two (not related to the endoscopic therapy). During follow up six patients developed late complications. All 15 patients with complete transection and four patients with major bile duct leakage were initially treated surgically. During initial treatment additional endoscopy was required in two patients. Early complications occurred in eight patients. During follow up seven patients developed stenosis of the anastomosis or bile duct. Reconstructive surgery in the early postoperative phase was associated with more complications than elective reconstructive surgery. Most type A and B bile duct injuries after laparoscopic cholecystectomy (80%) can be treated endoscopically. In patients with more severe ductal injury (type C and D) reconstructive surgery is eventually required in 70%. Multidisciplinary approach to these lesions is advocated and algorithms for treatment are proposed.

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