Intraoperative use of a 2-mm choledochoscope for the exploration of small bile ducts and the pancreatic duct.
Intraoperative visualization of the biliary and pancreatic ducts can be difficult in a nondilated system. Very small extra- and intrahepatic bile ducts occasionally require visualization but do not admit the traditional 6.5-mm intraoperative flexible choledochoscope. We have prospectively examined the use of a 2-mm choledochoscope for the intraoperative evaluation of the biliary and pancreatic ducts in 36 patients. In 27 patients, the choledochoscope was advanced through the cystic duct stump for examination of the common bile duct following cholangiography. The scope was successfully passed into the cystic duct stump and into the common bile duct in 76 per cent of patients. Inability to pass the scope through the cystic duct was usually due to acute angulation of the cystic duct/common duct junction. In an additional five patients, intraoperative cholangiography revealed a filling defect in a very small duct. A choledochotomy was made and the 2-mm choledochoscope was used to exclude the presence of stones in a small bile duct. In four patients the choledochoscope was used during a Puestow procedure to visualize and help extract stones in the tail and head of the gland. No complications occurred in these patients due to the use of the choledochoscope. We conclude that the 2-mm choledochoscope aids in internal visualization of small intra- and extrahepatic bile ducts and the pancreatic duct. It may be useful as an adjunct to cholangiography in determining the nature of filling defects.
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