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J Gastrointest Surg. 2003 May-Jun;7(4):492-6.

Transcystic common bile duct exploration in the management of patients with choledocholithiasis.

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Department of Surgery and Gastroenterology, Hospital de la Sociedad Espai;ola de Beneficencia de Puebla, Mexico.


Common bile duct stones are found in approximately 16% of patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy. If the diagnosis of choledocholithiasis is made at the preoperative workup, it is common practice to refer the patient for endoscopic retrograde cholangiography and endoscopic sphincterotomy. However, if the diagnosis is established during intraoperative cholangiography, the surgeon is confronted with a therapeutic dilemma-that is, the choice between laparoscopic common bile duct exploration, conversion to open surgery, or postoperative endoscopic sphincterotomy. We have opted to treat patients with choledocholithiasis in only one session during the laparoscopic cholecystectomy; we use the transcystic common bile duct exploration technique employing the choledochoscope. We report our early experience in terms of success of stone removal, operative time, morbidity and mortality, and length of hospital stay. From 1992 to 2002, we performed 350 laparoscopic cholecystectomies. Selective cholangiography was used in 105 patients (30%); 40 of them were found to have common bile duct stones, for an incidence of 11.4%. Among this group, we performed laparoscopic transcystic common bile duct exploration in all but six patients. Our success rate for stone removal was 94.1% (32 of 34 patients), with only two failures related to multiple stones and impaction at the ampulla, for a conversion rate of 5.8%. The mean operative time was 120+/-40 minutes. The morbidity rate was 8.8%, and there were no deaths. Length of hospital stay was 24 to 48 hours. Mean recovery time was 7 days, and time to return to work was 15+/-3 days. We concluded that most of the patients with common bile duct stones found during laparoscopic cholecystectomy could be treated successfully by means of the transcystic technique with choledochoscopy, with no increase in morbidity or mortality and a shortened hospital stay and recovery time, similar to patients who undergo only laparoscopic cholecystectomy. On the basis of our results, we recommend that this method become the primary strategy in the great majority of patients with common bile duct stones found during intraoperative cholangiography.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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