, Volume 9, Issue 2, pp 206-212

Laparoscopic management of common bile duct stones: transcystic approach and choledochotomy

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The purpose of this study was to review our experience with laparoscopic common bile duct (CBD) exploration by the transcystic approach and choledochotomy. We selected the transcystic approach for patients whose CBD stones were less than five in number and smaller than 9 mm in diameter, and whose CBD was less than 15 mm in diameter on cholangiograms. Among 217 patients with CBD stones treated laparoscopically, the transcystic approach was performed successfully in 91 of 104 patients in whom it was attempted (87.5%). The other 126 patients underwent laparoscopic choledochotomy, followed by ductal closure with transcystic drainage in 59, T-tube drainage in 46, primary ductal closure in 19, and choledochoduodenostomy in 1. Choledochotomy was converted to open surgery in only 1 patient. The transcystic approach was associated with shorter hospital stay and less morbidity than choledochotomy. However, choledochotomy also had an acceptably low rate of complications. Bile leaks occurred more frequently in those with primary ductal closure than in those with transcystic drainage or T-tube drainage. Residual stones were found in 2 patients with the transcystic approach and in 10 with choledochotomy. The residual stones were removed through the T-tube tract by choledochoscopy in 7 of these 10 patients. From these results we conclude that laparoscopic management of CBD stones is feasible for almost all patients with CBD stones. It is considered to be safe and effective and has the advantage of being a single-stage procedure.