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Surg Endosc. 2010 Jan;24(1):51-62. doi: 10.1007/s00464-009-0511-6. Epub 2009 May 23.

Cholecystocholedocholithiasis: a case-control study comparing the short- and long-term outcomes for a "laparoscopy-first" attitude with the outcome for sequential treatment (systematic endoscopic sphincterotomy followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy).

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Service de Chirurgie Viscérale Digestive et Urologique, Hôpital Victor Dupouy, Argenteuil, France.



No unanimous consensus has been achieved regarding the ideal management of cholecystocholedocholithiasis. The treatment of gallbladder and common bile duct (CBD) stones may be achieved currently according to a two-step-protocol (endoscopic sphincterotomy associated with laparoscopic cholecystectomy) or by a one-step laparoscopic procedure, including exploration of the CBD and cholecystectomy. Endoscopic sphincterotomy is reported to have considerable morbidity/mortality and CBD stone recurrence rates, whereas laparoscopic CBD clearance is a demanding procedure, which to date has not spread beyond specialized environments.


To evaluate our "laparoscopy first" (LF) approach for patients affected by gallbladder/CBD stones (laparoscopic exploration and intraoperative decision whether to proceed with laparoscopic CBD exploration or to postpone CBD stone treatment to a postoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography [ERCP]), we performed a retrospective, two-center case-control comparison of the postoperative outcome for 49 consecutive patients treated for gallbladder/CBD stones from January 2000 through December 2004. The results obtained with this LF approach were compared with those achieved with the traditional, "endoscopy-first" (EF) approach (ERCP plus endoscopic sphincterotomy, followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy). The mean follow-up period was 6.4 years (range, 4-8 years).


No difference emerged concerning early and late complications, mortality, or laparotomies needed to accomplish cholecystectomy and CBD clearance. The postoperative hospital stay was shorter for the LF group. In the LF group, only 22 patients underwent choledochotomy (45%), and 15 patients underwent perioperative ERCP (30%). Conversions decreased with practice. After choledochotomy, an increasing number of patients underwent primary closure of the CBD (with no biliary drain), without complications.


An LF approach to gallbladder/CBD stones is safe and feasible. It may allow the majority of surgeons to avoid excessively difficult/dangerous surgical procedures as well as unnecessary ERCPs in most cases. A tendency toward a lower incidence of conversions and a rarer use of biliary drains may lead to an improved immediate outcome for patients undergoing an LF approach.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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