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Is There A Place For Laparoscopy In Management Of Postcholecystectomy Biliary Injuries?

J. Azagra, P. De Simone, M. Goergen
Published 2001 · Medicine

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Abstract. Despite its minimal invasiveness, laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) carries unquestionably higher morbidity and mortality rates when compared with the open counterpart (OC). Among the iatrogenic injuries, biliary tract lesions are the most clinically relevant because of their potential for patient's disability and long-term sequelae. No universal agreement exists for classifying these lesions, but numerous authors have advocated a distinction between bile leaks and bile injuries. Even if not entirely correct, bile leaks refer to fistulas from minor ducts in continuity with the major ductal system or from accessory ducts (as the duct of Luschka). Biliary injuries are major complications consisting of leaks, strictures, transection, or ligation of major bile ducts. While bile leaks are typically treated by percutaneous and/or endoscopic drainage and stenting, biliary injuries often require a combined radiology-assisted and endoscopic approach or even conventional surgery. The role of laparoscopy in the management algorithm of biliary lesions is still anecdotal. To date, a total of 25 cases of laparoscopic drainage of post-cholecystectomy bilomas have been reported in the literature, whereas there is no mention of laparoscopic primary repair of biliary injuries detected at or after cholecystectomy. The main reasons depend on the excellent results achieved by the ancillary techniques; the emergency settings that accompany more complex biliary lesions; the technical challenges posed by the presence of inflammation, collections, and obscured anatomy; and the potential for malpractice litigation. However, a sound laparoscopic technique and a strict adherence to basic surgical tenets are crucial in order to avoid the incidence of iatrogenic biliary injuries and reduce their still unknown impact on long-term patient disability.
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