, 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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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.


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.


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.


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