Controversy over whether intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) should be done routinely has intensified since the advent of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). As yet, no study has demonstrated a clear benefit to its use, although their have been suggestions in the literature that routine use may confer an advantage to detection of injuries. One-hundred seventy-seven biliary tract complications occurring secondary to LC were identified from the combined data of seven institutions. The goal of this retrospective study was to examine the impact of IOC on the occurrence, recognition, and correction of such complications. The complications identified include 39 cystic duct leaks, 69 major ductal leaks or strictures, and 69 major ductal transection or excision injuries. Whether IOC was performed was known in 157 (88%) patients with 53 patients definitely having and 104 not having an IOC. Data concerning IOC were unavailable in 20 cases. More injuries were detected intraoperatively in the group having IOC (P<0.001). Conversion of the LC to a laparotomy, often for repair of the injury, occurred more commonly in the group having a correctly interpreted IOC (P<0.001). Conversion resulted in detection of injuries sooner, resulting in fewer operative procedures to correct the injury (P<0.001). A transecting injury was prevented in at least seven patients when no visualization of the proximal biliary tree was documented by IOC. These partial ductal incisions were treated by t-tube placement. Incorrect interpretation of the IOC occurred in at least eight patients, with no identification of the proximal biliary tree in six. These data suggest routine IOC may offer significant potential advantages in the detection and subsequent correction of these injuries, as well as preventing extension of partial ductal incisions to complete ductal transections. Surgeons must be able to correctly interpret the IOC. Although routine IOC is suggested, careful dissection principles continue to be most important in the prevention of major extrahepatic bile duct injuries during LC.
- Biliary tract
- Laparoscopic bile duct injury
- Routine intraoperative cholangiography
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