Biliary complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy

J. A. Cates, R. K. Tompkins, M. J. Zinner, R. W. Busuttil, C. Kallman, J. J. Roslyn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has rapidly become the preferred treatment for symptomatic gallstones. Although this procedure has certain advantages over open cholecystectomy, concern has been expressed regarding the potential for bile duct injuries. In an effort to understand the scope of this problem, a retrospective review was performed of all patients referred to UCLA after having sustained biliary injuries during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Over a 14-month period, 10 patients were referred to UCLA with 12 major bile duct injuries. One patient had a false positive cholangiogram leading to an unnecessary biliary-enteric bypass and subsequent dehiscence, resulting in a biliary fistula. Six patients were referred on an acute basis, whereas four patients underwent attempted biliary reconstruction at outside facilities and were ultimately referred with either a biliary stricture or a fistula. Review of cholangiograms suggested that bile duct anomalies were present in five patients. There did not appear to be a relationship between the use of either electrocautery or laser and bile duct injuries. To date eight patients have been successfully managed via Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomies, with a mortality rate of 0%. Although the exact frequency cannot be ascertained from the current study, our data demonstrate that major biliary complications do occur during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Most of these injuries, however, can be safely and successfully treated with surgical biliary reconstruction. Early diagnosis and treatment with liberal use of intraoperative cholangiography and a low threshold for conversion to open laparotomy appears to be associated with a more favorable outcome.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-247
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Surgeon
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Biliary complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this