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Surg Endosc. 2001 Sep;15(9):1038-41. Epub 2001 May 2.

Cholecystoenteric fistula (CF) is not a contraindication for laparoscopic surgery.

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LapClub (Italian Collaborative Study Group for the Development of Laparoscopic Surgery and Minimally Invasive Techniques), Fondazione IDIS, Via Coroglio 156, I-80124 Naples, Italy.



Cholecystoenteric fistula (CF) is a rare complication of cholelithiasis. The aim of this study was to evaluate the safety and risk of complications when the laparoscopic approach is applied in patients with CF.


A questionnaire was mailed to all surgeons with experience of >100 cholecystectomies working in Naples, Italy, and the neighboring area.


Between February 1990 and May 1999, 34 patients presented with cholecystoenteric fistula (0.2% of >15,000 laparoscopic cholecystectomies performed in the same period). These patients were allocated into two groups: the LT group (those who underwent laparotomic conversion after the diagnosis of CF), which consisted of 20 patients, four men and 16 women, with a mean age of 66.5 +/- 9.3 years (range, 46-85) and the LS group (laparoscopically treated patients), which consisted of 14 patients, three men and 11 women, with a mean age of 65.6 +/- 8.8 years (range, 51-74). They types of CF observed were as follows: in the former group of patients, cholecystoduodenal fistulas (n = 11, 55%), cholecystocolic fistulas (n = 5, 25%), cholecystojejunal fistulas (n = 3, 15%), and cholecystogastric fistulas (n = 1, 5%); in the latter group, cholecystoduodenal fistulas (n = 8, 5.1%), and cholecystocolic fistulas (n = 4, 28.6) and cholecystojejunal fistulas (n = 2, 14.3%). Stapler closure of CF was done in four LT patients and three LS patients with cholecystoduodenal fistula; it was also done in three LT patients and three LS patients with cholecystocolic fistula. Hand-sutured fistulectomy was performed in six LT patients and three LS patients with cholecystoduodenal fistula, in two LT patients with cholecystocolic fistula, and in all patients with cholecystojejunal or cholecystogastric fistula. There were no deaths or intraoperative complications in either group. One patient in the LT group developed a bronchopneumonia postoperatively. Postoperative hospital stay was significantly longer in LT patients-17 +/- 4 vs 3+/-1 days (p < 0.001).


Cholecystoenteric fistula is an occasional intraoperative finding during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The results of this study, which are based on the collective experiences of 19 surgeons, illustrate the growing success of the laparoscopic approach to this condition, including a decreasing rate of conversion to open surgery over the last 3 years.

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