, Volume 15, Issue 5, pp 904-912
Date: 15 Oct 2004

Imaging of the complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy

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Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has, in recent years, emerged as the gold standard therapeutic option for the management of uncomplicated symptomatic cholelithiasis. Each year, up to 700,000 of these procedures are performed in the United States alone. While the relative rate of post-procedural complications is low, the popularity of this method of gallbladder removal is such that this entity is not uncommonly clinically encountered, and therefore must be borne in mind by the investigating physician. By way of pictorial review, we explore the radiological appearances of a variety of potential complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The radiological appearances of each shall be illustrated in turn using several imaging modalities, including ultrasound, computed tomography, MR cholangiography and radio-isotope scintigraphy. From calculus retention to portal vein laceration, bile duct injury to infected dropped calculi, we illustrate numerous potential complications of this procedure, as well as indicating the most suitable imaging modalities available for the detection of these adverse outcomes. As one of the most commonly performed intra-abdominal surgeries, laparoscopic cholecystectomy and the complications thereof are not uncommonly encountered. Awareness of the possible presence of these numerous complications, including their radiological appearances, makes early detection more likely, with resultant improved patient outcome.