Kasai portoenterostomy has been the treatment of choice for neonates with biliary atresia since its introduction. With the advance in laparoscopic techniques, a few centers have reported the feasibility of performing laparoscopic Kasai portoenterostomy. However, the outcome of this new technique is not known. Here, we aim to evaluate, as the only referral center for liver transplantation, our experience with patients referred for transplantation after failed Kasai portoenterostomy. A retrospective study was carried out between October 1996 and September 2005. The records of all patients with the diagnosis of biliary atresia were retrieved. The type of procedure and clinical outcome of the patients were noted. Early failure of Kasai enterostomy was defined as the need for liver transplantation within 1-year post-Kasai operation. For the period studied, a total of 72 patients with biliary atresia were identified. Sixty-three of the 72 patients had their Kasai portoenterostomies performed openly while nine patients underwent laparoscopic Kasai portoenterostomy in a center experienced in laparoscopic surgery. Six of these patients were referred for transplantation within 1 year, giving the early failure rate of 66.6%. In comparison, the early failure rate for open Kasai procedure was 38.5%. Regarding post-operative complications, one patient who underwent laparoscopic Kasai procedure also suffered intestinal volvulus after initial surgery and another was found to have internal herniation of the Roux loop. Laparoscopic Kasai portoenterostomy seems to be associated with more post-operative complications and worse early clinical outcome. As a result, we remain guarded about the present-day technique of laparoscopy for biliary atresia.
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