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J Pediatr Surg. 2004 Jun;39(6):804-7; discussion 804-7.

Initial experience with complex laparoscopic biliary surgery in children: biliary atresia and choledochal cyst.

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  • 1Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.



Laparoscopic approaches are possible for many pediatric surgical diseases, including complex biliary disorders. The authors describe their early experience with laparoscopic procedures for biliary atresia and choledochal cysts.


A retrospective review was performed with Institutional Review Board (IRB) approval of children undergoing laparoscopic Kasai portoenterostomy (n = 2) or laparoscopic excision of a choledochal cyst with Roux-en-y biliary reconstruction (n = 3). The authors report the operative technique for these procedures and present their initial results.


All procedures were performed with 4 to 5 trocars using 3- and 5-mm ports. Excision of the fibrous biliary remnant (biliary atresia) or of the cyst (choledochal cysts) was performed laparoscopically in all cases. The Roux-en-y limb was created through a 1-cm extension of the umbilical port site. Laparoscopic biliary reconstruction was performed successfully in 4 of 5 patients. In one child, the proximal extent of the choledochal cyst was at the bifurcation of the hepatic duct, and the biliary reconstruction was performed via an open incision with separate anastomoses of the right and left ducts. The gallbladder was used as a handle for retraction of the liver for portal visualization, as in a cholecystectomy, and was resected at the end of the procedure. All children with choledochal cysts have normal bilirubin values. One of 2 children who underwent laparoscopic Kasai has a normal postoperative bilirubin level, whereas the other child did not drain bile and underwent a successful liver transplantation. Mean length of surgery was 338 minutes; mean length of stay was 5.5 days. There were no significant postoperative complications. Cosmesis was excellent in all cases.


Laparoscopic approaches for children with biliary atresia and choledochal cysts are possible. Excellent visualization of the portal structures can be achieved laparoscopically with adequate retraction of the liver. Further follow-up is needed to determine broader application.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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