, Volume 37, Issue 3, pp 573-581
Date: 28 Nov 2012

Reoperative Surgery After Repair of Postcholecystectomy Bile Duct Injuries: Is it Worthwhile?

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Abstract

Background

Repeat repair of bile duct injuries (BDIs) after cholecystectomy is technically challenging, and its success remains uncertain. We retrospectively evaluated the short- and long-term outcomes of patients requiring reoperative surgery for BDI at a major referral center for hepatobiliary surgery.

Methods

Between January 1991 and May 2011, we performed surgical BDI repairs in 46 patients. Among them, 22 patients had undergone a previous surgical repair elsewhere (group 1), and 24 patients had no previous repair (group 2). We compared the early and late outcomes in the two groups.

Results

The patients in group 1 were younger (48.6 vs. 54.8 years, p = 0.0001) and were referred after a longer interval (>1 month) from BDI (72.7 vs. 41.7 %, p = 0.042). Intraoperative diagnosis of BDI (59.1 vs. 12.5 %, p = 0.001), ongoing cholangitis (45.4 vs. 12.5 %; p = 0.02), and delay of repair after referral to our institution (116 ± 34 days vs. 23 ± 9 days; p = 0.001) were significantly more frequent in group 1 than in group 2. No significant differences were found for postoperative mortality, morbidity, or length of stay between the groups. Patients with associated vascular injuries had a higher postoperative morbidity rate (p = 0.01) and associated hepatectomy rate (p = 0.045). After a mean follow-up of 96.6 ± 9.7 months (range 5–237.2 months, median 96 months), the rate of recurrent cholangitis (6.5 %) was comparable in the two groups.

Conclusions

This study demonstrates that short- and long-term outcomes after surgical repair of BDI are comparable regardless of whether the patient requires reoperative surgery for a failed primary repair. Associated vascular injuries increase postoperative morbidity and the need for liver resection.

Pietro Addeo and Elie Oussoultzoglou contributed equally to this study