Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the treatment of choice for gallbladder stones. In the current study, this approach was associated with a higher incidence of biliary injuries. The authors evaluate their experience treating complex biliary injuries and analyze the literature.
Methods: In a 15-year period, 169 patients with bile duct injuries (BDIs) resulting from open and laparoscopic cholecystectomies were treated. The patients were retrospectively evaluated through their records. Biliary injury and associated lesions were evaluated with imaging studies. Surgical management included therapeutic endoscopy, percutaneous interventions, hepaticojejunostomy, liver resection, and liver transplantation. Postoperative outcome was recorded. Survival analysis was performed with G-Stat and NCSS programs using the Kaplan-Meier method.
Results: Of the 169 patients treated for BDIs, 148 were referred from other centers. The injuries included 115 lesions resulting from open cholecystectomy and 54 lesions resulting from laparoscopic cholecystectomy. A total of 110 patients (65%) fulfilled the criteria for complex injuries, 11 of whom met more than one criteria. Injuries resulting from laparoscopic and open cholecystectomies were complex in 87.5% and 72% of the patients, respectively. The procedures used were percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage for 30 patients, hepaticojejunostomy for 96 patients, rehepaticojejunostomy for 16 patients, hepatic resection for 9 patients, and liver transplantation projected for 18 patients. Hepaticojejunostomy was effective for 85% of the patients. The mean follow-up period was 77.8 months (range, 4-168 months). The mortality rate for noncomplex BDI was 0%, as compared with the mortality rate of 7.2% (8/110) for complex BDI. Mortality after hepatic resection was nil, and morbidity was 33.3%. The actuarial survival rate for liver transplantation at 1 year was 91.7%.
Conclusions: Complex BDIs after laparoscopic cholecystectomy are potentially life-threatening complications. In this study, late complications of complex BDIs appeared when there was a delay in referral or the patient received multiple procedures. On occasion, hepatic resections and liver transplantation proved to be the only definitive treatments with good long-term outcomes and quality of life.