Perioperative outcomes of the patients treated using laparoscopic cholecystectomy after emergent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography for bile duct stones: Does timing matter?

Ulus Travma Acil Cerrahi Derg. 2020 May;26(3):396-404. doi: 10.14744/tjtes.2020.94401.


Background: There is no consensus on the optimal timing for laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) after emergent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) for suspected choledocholithiasis. Although certain data suggest that an early interval or single-stage treatment by LC, together with laparoscopic bile duct exploration, has more favorable outcomes, delayed LC is most often preferred as the standard treatment of patients with gallstones and choledocholithiasis following ERCP due to lack of experience, necessary instrumentation, or organizational restrictions. This study aims to compare the effects of different time intervals between ERCP and LC on perioperative outcomes.

Methods: In this paper, preoperative and postoperative data from consecutive patients who were treated for common bile duct stones with emergent ERCP and then underwent LC were reviewed retrospectively. To evaluate the impacts of different time intervals on outcomes, patients were classified into three groups according to the duration from the last ERCP to LC: within two weeks (Group 1), between 2-6 weeks (Group 2), and over six weeks (Group 3).

Results: This study involved an analysis of 67 patients with a mean age of 52.8 years. Overall conversion rate was 20.0% in Group 1, 25.0% in Group 2, and 13.6% in Group 3 (p=0.646). The rate of conversion to open surgery was 25.0% in male patients and 14.2% in females. In addition, no significant difference was found between the groups concerning gender, comorbidities, laboratory and gallbladder features, operation time, and length of the hospital stay. The perioperative complication rate was found to be 17.9%; however, there was no significant difference between the three groups.

Conclusion: Our results support that LC after ERCP is more complex and has higher conversion rates than LC for uncomplicated cholelithiasis. Although no significant effect of different time intervals between ERCP and LC on perioperative outcomes was demonstrated in patients with common bile duct stones concomitant with cholelithiasis, the 2-6 weeks after ERCP is a critical period for conversion to open surgery. It is recommended that LC after ERCP should be performed in the early period, considering that serious complications may occur in the late period and recurrent biliary attacks may occur.

MeSH terms

  • Cholangiopancreatography, Endoscopic Retrograde*
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic*
  • Female
  • Gallstones / diagnostic imaging*
  • Gallstones / surgery*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time-to-Treatment