Operative common bile duct exploration, performed in conjunction with cholecystectomy, has been considered the treatment of choice for choledocholithiasis in the presence of an intact gallbladder. With the advent of laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the management of common bile duct stones has been affected. More emphasis is being placed on endoscopic sphincterotomy and options other than operative common duct exploration. Because of this increasing demand, we have developed a new technique for laparoscopic common bile duct exploration performed in the same operative setting as laparoscopic cholecystectomy. A series of five patients who successfully underwent common bile duct exploration, flexible choledochoscopy with stone extraction, and T-tube drainage, all using laparoscopic technique, is reported. Mean postoperative length of hospital stay was 4.6 days. Outpatient T-tube cholangiography was performed in all cases and revealed normal ductal anatomy with no retained stones. Follow-up ranged from 6 weeks to 4 months, and all patients were asymptomatic and had normal liver function tests.
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