Initial Cholecystectomy with Cholangiography Decreases Length of Stay Compared to Preoperative MRCP or ERCP in the Management of Choledocholithiasis

Am Surg. 2015 Jul;81(7):726-31.


There are several treatments available for choledocholithiasis, but the optimal treatment is highly debated. Some advocate preoperative endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) with cholangiography (IOC). Others advocate initial LC + IOC followed by common bile duct exploration or ERCP. The purpose of this study was to determine whether initial LC + IOC had a shorter length of stay (LOS) compared with preoperative magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) or ERCP. Patients who underwent cholecystectomy between 2012 and 2013 at two institutions were reviewed. Patients were selected if they had suspected choledocholithiasis, indicated by dilated CBD and/or elevated bilirubin, or confirmed choledocholithiasis. They were excluded if they had pancreatitis or cholangitis. There were 126 patients with suspected choledocholithiasis in this study. Of these, 97 patients underwent initial LC ± IOC with an average LOS of 3.9 days. IOC was negative in 47.4 per cent patients, and they had a shorter LOS compared with positive IOC patients (2.93 vs 4.82, P < 0.001). Laparoscopic common bile duct exploration was successful in 64.7 per cent and had a shorter LOS compared with postoperative ERCP patients (P = 0.01). Preoperative MRCP was performed in 21 patients with an average LOS of 6.48 days. Preoperative ERCP was performed in eight patients with an average LOS of seven days. Initial LC+IOC is associated with a shorter LOS compared to preoperative MRCP or ERCP. It is recommended as the optimal treatment choice for suspected choledocholithiasis.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Cholangiography
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde*
  • Cholangiopancreatography, Magnetic Resonance*
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic*
  • Choledocholithiasis / therapy*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Period
  • Length of Stay*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Retrospective Studies