Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 434–442 | Cite as

Is Routine Intraoperative Cholangiogram Necessary in the Twenty-First Century? A National View

  • Elizaveta Ragulin-Coyne
  • Elan R. Witkowski
  • Zeling Chau
  • Sing Chau Ng
  • Heena P. Santry
  • Mark P. Callery
  • Shimul A. Shah
  • Jennifer F. Tseng
2012 SSAT Plenary Presentation



Intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC) can define biliary ductal anatomy. Routine IOC has been proposed previously. However, current surgeon IOC utilization practice patterns and outcomes are unclear.


Nationwide Inpatient Sample 2004–2009 was queried for patients with acute biliary disease undergoing cholecystectomy (CCY). Analyses only included surgeons performing ≥10 CCY/year. We dichotomized surgeons into a routine IOC group vs. selective. Outcomes included bile duct injury, complications, mortality, length of stay, and cost.


Of the nonweighted patients, 111,815 underwent CCY. A total of 4,740 actual surgeon yearly volumes were examined. On average, each surgeon performed 23.6 CCYs and 7.9 IOCs annually, using IOC in 33 % of cases. The routine IOC group used IOC for 96 % of cases, whereas selective IOC group used IOC ∼25 % of the time. Routine IOC surgeons had no difference in mortality (0.4 %) or rate of bile duct injury (0.25 vs. 0.26 %), but higher overall complications (7.3 vs. 6.8 %, p = 0.04). Patients of routine IOC surgeons received more additional procedures and incurred higher costs.


Routine IOC does not decrease the rate of bile duct injury, but is associated with significant added cost. Surgeons’ routine use of IOC is correlated with increased rates of postsurgical procedures, and is associated with increased overall complications. These data suggest routine IOC may not improve outcomes.


Intraoperative cholangiogram Cholecystectomy Cost assessment Bile duct injury Complications and mortality 


Grant Support/Funding

NIH/NCRR Clinical and Translational Science Award Pilot, American Cancer Society MRSG-10-003-01, Howard Hughes Medical Institute Early Career Award (all to JFT), the Linda J. Verville Foundation and Clinical Scholar Award (ERC).


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Copyright information

© The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elizaveta Ragulin-Coyne
    • 1
  • Elan R. Witkowski
    • 1
  • Zeling Chau
    • 1
  • Sing Chau Ng
    • 1
  • Heena P. Santry
    • 1
  • Mark P. Callery
    • 2
  • Shimul A. Shah
    • 1
  • Jennifer F. Tseng
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, Surgical Outcomes Analysis & Research (SOAR)University of Massachusetts Medical SchoolWorcesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of Surgery, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterHarvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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