Background. We have previously reported an alternative technique for treatment of choledocholithiasis found at laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) that can be considered with selected patients. This study was undertaken to update our experience with this alternative technique, which makes serial postoperative cholangiograms possible and facilitates stone extraction by assuring access to the common bile duct so that a guidewire-assisted endoscopic retrograde sphincterotomy can be performed. Methods. In the period between 1989 and 1997, prospective data were maintained on 1043 consecutive patients who underwent LC by a single surgeon. Fifty-two patients with abnormal cholangiograms were managed with a percutaneously placed double- lumen catheter threaded through the cystic duct and advanced into the duodenum. Results. Five attempts failed, 3 because of failure to pass the catheter and 2 because of catheter dislodgement. Of the 47 remaining patients, 2 underwent intraoperative endoscopic sphincterotomies using this alternative technique and 45 had cholangiograms repeated at 10 to 14 days. Twenty-three had negative cholangiograms, thus avoiding further procedures or unnecessary sphincterotomies because of spontaneous stone passage or initial false-positive cholangiograms. The remaining 22 had positive cholangiograms. Eighteen ultimately underwent sphincterotomies with stone extraction using a guidewire placed through the catheter. The other 4 had negative cholangiograms after serial follow-up, presumably because of spontaneous stone passage. Conclusions. The use of a transcystic double-lumen catheter passed through the ampulla of Vater is an effective and safe alternative for the management of choledocholithiasis discovered during LC.
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