100 consecutive common duct explorations without mortality.
It has been suggested that the incidence of morbidity and mortality after common duct exploration no longer justifies its use in patients with a gallbladder in situ. Therefore endoscopic sphincterotomy has been advocated for removal of common duct stones before cholecystectomy in selected patients. The purpose of this study was to determine our current rate of retained common duct stones and the morbidity and mortality rates associated with common duct exploration. Charts of 100 consecutive patients who underwent cholecystectomy and common duct exploration from January 1982 through December 1986 were reviewed. Indications for duct exploration included jaundice, dilated common bile duct, gallstone pancreatitis, multiple small stones, and abnormal intraoperative cholangiogram. Common duct exploration was done by manual technique or choledochoscopy, as determined by the surgeon's preference. Only two patients required duodenotomy for extraction of difficult stones. There were no deaths in this series of consecutive common duct exploration. The total morbidity rate was 15.7%, which included a 5.3% incidence of retained common duct stones. There was a 7.4% major complication rate, including deep vein thrombosis, bleeding gastric ulcer, and pneumonia. The remaining complications were minor and did not prolong hospitalization. There was one wound infection and no postoperative pancreatitis. None of the complications were directly attributable to choledochotomy or duct exploration. All retained common duct stones were removed by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography or by angiographic basket and did not require reoperation. It is concluded that operative common duct exploration not requiring duodenotomy is safe and does not appreciably increase the incidence of complications after cholecystectomy. Endoscopic sphincterotomy continues to be the preferable alternative to operative common duct exploration for patients with retained common duct stones.
Pappas, TN; Slimane, TB; Brooks, DC
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