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Am J Surg. 1993 Apr;165(4):444-9.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy: the European experience.

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Service de Chirurgie Digestive, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Bordeaux, France.


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy, initially performed in France in 1987, has rapidly spread to other European countries, the United States, and elsewhere. Of the techniques that have evolved, the "French" technique, in which the surgeon stands between the patient's legs, and the "American" technique, in which the surgeon stands on the patient's left side, are the most commonly used. In the former technique, the liver is retracted via the mid-clavicular cannula and the infundibulum of the gallbladder via the anterior axillary port. In the latter technique, the liver is retracted by axial traction on the gallbladder through the anterior axillary cannula and the infundibulum through the mid-clavicular cannula. This position may increase the risk of bile duct injury. The technique selected for operative cholangiography should be adapted to the problem at hand. Cystic duct cholangiography shows ductal calculi more reliably due to better filling of the common bile duct; direct puncture of the gallbladder is safer when the biliary anatomy is unclear. A number of European studies confirm the safety of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Mortality rates vary between 0% and 0.1%, and duct injury rates range between 0.2% and 0.6%. Conversion, which is done in 3% to 8% of cases, may be necessary in the case of uncontrollable hemorrhage, bile duct injury unsuitable for laparoscopic repair, or if the gallbladder is densely scarred (scleroatrophic). It can also be done for safety reasons, when the anatomy is unclear. Complications include bile collections due to accessory duct or cystic duct stump leaks or less commonly to common duct injury. The average postoperative stay is longer in Europe (3.2 days) than in the United States. A decision tree is presented for the management of common bile duct stones. In general, preoperatively identified ductal stones are removed by endoscopic sphincterotomy, which is then followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy to remove the source of the calculi. The techniques of laparoscopic choledochotomy and transcystic exploration for the removal of stones in the common bile duct are only beginning to be used, but they may well prove to be the most popular procedures. Results with these procedures will need to be evaluated against those obtained with endoscopic sphincterotomy.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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