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Benign Biliary Strictures Surgery Or Endoscopy?

P. Davids, A. K. Tanka, E. Rauws, T. V. van Gulik, D. V. van Leeuwen, L. D. de Wit, P. Verbeek, K. Huibregtse, M. N. van der Heyde, G. Tytgat
Published 1993 · Medicine

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OBJECTIVE This study compared the results of surgery and endoscopy for benign biliary strictures in one institution, over the same period of time and with the same outcome definitions. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA Surgery is considered the treatment of choice, offering more than 80% long-term success. Endoscopic stenting has been reported to yield similar results and might be a useful alternative. METHODS In this nonrandomized retrospective study, 101 patients with benign biliary strictures were included. Thirty-five patients were treated surgically and 66 by endoscopic stenting. Patient characteristics, initial trauma, previous repairs, and level of obstruction were comparable in both groups. Surgical therapy consisted of constructing a biliary-digestive anastomosis in normal ductal tissue. Endoscopic therapy consisted of placement of endoprostheses, with trimonthly elective exchange for a 1-year period. RESULTS Mean length of follow-up was 50 +/- 3.8 and 42 +/- 4.2 months for surgery and endoscopy, respectively. Early complications occurred more frequently in the surgically treated group (p < 0.03). Late complications during therapy, occurred only in the endoscopically treated group. In 46 patients, the endoprostheses were eventually removed. Recurrent stricturing occurred in 17% in both surgical and endoscopic patients. CONCLUSIONS Surgery and endoscopy for benign biliary strictures have similar long-term success rates. Indications for surgery are complete transections, failed previous repairs, and failures of endoscopic therapy. All other patients are candidates for endoscopic stenting as the initial treatment.

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