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Dig Surg. 2019 Jan 17:1-12. doi: 10.1159/000496432. [Epub ahead of print]

Long-Term Impact of Iatrogenic Bile Duct Injury.

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Department of Surgery, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands,
Department of Surgery, Amsterdam UMC, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Department of Surgery, Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania.



Bile duct injury (BDI) is a devastating complication following cholecystectomy. After initial management of BDI, patients stay at risk for late complications including anastomotic strictures, recurrent cholangitis, and secondary biliary cirrhosis.


We provide a comprehensive overview of current literature on the long-term outcome of BDI. Considering the availability of only limited data regarding treatment of anastomotic strictures in literature, we also retrospectively analyzed patients with anastomotic strictures following a hepaticojejunostomy (HJ) from a prospectively maintained database of 836 BDI patients.


Although clinical outcomes of endoscopic, radiologic, and surgical treatment of BDI are good with success rates of around 90%, quality of life (QoL) may be impaired even after "clinically successful" treatment. Following surgical treatment, the incidence of anastomotic strictures varies from 5 to 69%, with most studies reporting incidences around 10-20%. The median time to stricture formation varies between 11 and 30 months. Long-term BDI-related mortality varies between 1.8 and 4.6%. Of 91 patients treated in our center for anastomotic strictures after HJ, 81 (89%) were treated by percutaneous balloon dilatation, with a long-term success rate of 77%. Twenty-four patients primarily or secondarily underwent surgical revision, with recurrent strictures occurring in 21%.


The long-term impact of BDI is considerable, both in terms of clinical outcomes and QoL. Treatment should be performed in tertiary expert centers to optimize outcomes. Patients require a long-term follow-up to detect anastomotic strictures. Strictures should initially be managed by percutaneous dilatation, with surgical revision as a next step in treatment.


Anastomotic stricture; Bile duct injury; Bile leakage; Cholecystectomy; Long-term outcome

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