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Bile Leaks From The Duct Of Luschka (subvesical Duct): A Review

Constantine P. Spanos, Theodore Syrakos
Published 2006 · Medicine

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BackgroundGallstone disease remains the most common disease of the digestive system in Western societies and laparoscopic cholecystectomy one of the most common surgical procedures performed. Bile leaks remain a significant cause of morbidity for patients undergoing this procedure. These occur in 0.2–2% of cases. The bile ducts of Luschka, or subvesical ducts, are small ducts which originate from the right hepatic lobe, course along the gallbladder fossa, and usually drain in the extrahepatic bile ducts. Injuries to these ducts are the second most frequent cause of postcholecystectomy bile leaks.MethodsA literature search using MEDLINE’s Medical Subject Heading terms was used to identify recent articles. Cross-references from these articles were also used.ResultsSubvesical bile duct leaks can be detected by drip-infusion cholangiography using computed tomography preoperatively, direct visualization or cholangiography intraoperatively, and fistulography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography with intravenous contrast postoperatively. ERCP is the most common diagnostic method used. Most patients with subvesical duct leaks are symptomatic, and most leaks will be detected postoperatively during the first postoperative week. Drainage of extravasated bile is mandatory in all cases. Reduction of intrabiliary pressure with endoscopic sphincterotomy and stent placement will lead to preferential flow of bile through the papilla, thus permitting subvesical duct injuries to heal. This is the most common treatment modality used. In a minority of patients, relaparoscopy is performed. In such cases, the leaking subvesical duct is visualized directly, and ligation usually is sufficient treatment. Simple drainage is adequate treatment for a small number of asymptomatic patients with low-volume leaks.ConclusionsSubvesical duct leaks occur after cholecystectomy regardless of gallbladder pathology or urgency of operation. They have been encountered more frequently in the era of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Intraoperative cholangiography does not detect all such leaks. Staying close to the gallbladder wall during its removal from the fossa is the only known prophylactic measure. ERCP and stent placement are the most common effective diagnostic and therapeutic methods used. Intraoperative and perioperative adjunctive measures, such as fibrin glue instillation and pharmacologic relaxation of the sphincter of Oddi, can potentially be used in lowering the incidence of subvesical bile leaks.
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