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Cholescintigraphy in the diagnosis of bile leak after laparoscopic cholecystectomy



Cholescintigraphy in the diagnosis of bile leak after laparoscopic cholecystectomy



American Surgeon 63(7): 611-616



Bile leaks are a recognized complication of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). Different diagnostic approaches have been employed when this condition is suspected. We present our experience with cholescintigraphy as a primary imaging technique for the detection of bile leaks. The medical records of all patients who had cholescintigraphy after LC during a 58-month period were reviewed. Patients were selected for cholescintigraphy if fever unusual abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or jaundice were present beyond 36 hours after LC. Bile leaks were suspected in 25 out of 744 patients (3.36%). The nuclear imaging study was true positive in 7 cases and true negative in 18 cases, for a 100 per cent sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy in the detection of bile leaks. Five patients were treated by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography with stent and/or sphincterotomy, and two patients underwent exploratory laparotomy. None of the patients who underwent endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography required peritoneal drainage. We conclude that cholescintigraphy is sensitive and accurate in the diagnosis of bile leaks. Its use along with a high index of suspicion of a bile leak may prevent the development of bile peritonitis.

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Accession: 045509884

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PMID: 9202535


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