Cholecystectomy without operative cholangiography: Implications for common bile duct injury and retained common bile duct stones

Jeffrey S. Barkun, Gerald M. Fried, Alan N. Barkun, Harvey H. Sigman, E. John Hinchey, Jacob Garzon, Marvin J. Wexler, Jonathan L. Meakins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

138 Scopus citations


Objective: This study evaluated the selective use of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) in the context of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) while minimizing the use of operative cholangiography. Summary Background Data: There has been a long-standing debate between routine and selective operative cholangiography that has resurfaced with LC. Methods: Prospective data were collected on the first 1300 patients undergoing LC at McGill University. Preoperative indications for ERCP were recorded, radiologic findings were standardized, and technical points for a safe LC were emphasized. Results: A total of 106 patients underwent 127 preoperative ERCPs. Fifty patients were found to have choledocholithiasis (3.8%), and clearance of the common bile duct (CBD) with endoscopic sphincterotomy was achieved in 45 patients. The other five patients underwent open cholecystectomy with common duct exploration. Intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) was attempted in only 54 patients (4.2%), 6 of whom demonstrated choledocholithiasis. Forty-nine postoperative ERCPs were performed in 33 patients and stones were detected in 17 (1.3%), with a median follow-up time of 22 months. Endoscopic duct clearance was successful in all of these. The incidence of CBD injury was 0.38%, and a policy of routine operative cholangiography might only have led to earlier recognition of duct injury in one case. The rate of complication for all ERCPs was 9% and the associated median duration of the hospital stay was 4 days. The median duration of the hospital stay after open CBD exploration was 13 days. Conclusions: LC can be performed safely without routine IOC. The selective use of preoperative and postoperative ERCP will clear the CBD of stones in 92.5% of patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)371-377
Number of pages7
JournalAnnals of Surgery
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1993
Externally publishedYes


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