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Am J Surg. 1994 May;167(5):497-500.

Surgical management of choledochal cysts.

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Department of Surgery, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada.


Choledochal cysts are an unusual cause of biliary obstruction with up to 85% of reported cases being of the type I variety, that is, fusiform dilations of the common bile duct. Recommended management of this type I cyst is complete surgical excision; however, difficulties arise in type IVa cysts when the cystic dilation extends up into the intrahepatic biliary tree. The purpose of this study is to review the management of choledochal cysts with particular reference to the type IVa variety. Statistical analysis of outcome differences was undertaken using Fisher's exact test. A total of 23 consecutive patients with choledochal cysts seen at our institution in a 5-year period were reviewed: 8 patients had type I cysts, 1 patient had a type III cyst, and 14 patients had type IVa cysts. All type I cysts underwent complete cyst excision with hepaticojejunostomy and modified Houston loop formation. Of 14 patients with type IVa cysts, 13 underwent complete excision of the extrahepatic portion of the cyst with hepatico- and cystojejunostomy and modified Hutson loop formation. One patient required hepatic lobectomy. With a mean follow-up of 33 months, 4 patients with type IVa choledochal cyst have had episodes of recurrent cholangitis, with access to the library tree being achieved via the Hutson loop in 3 of the 4 patients. Three of these cases represented anastomotic strictures that were treated nonoperatively. We concluded that recurrent cholangitis and anastomotic stricture after resection of type IVa choledochal cysts is frequent and recommend Hutson loop formation at the time of primary resection.

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