Surgical injury of the biliary tract in children

Ciftci A., Karnak I. , Senocak M., Tanyel F. C. , Buyukpamukcu N.

EUROPEAN JOURNAL OF PEDIATRIC SURGERY, vol.10, pp.100-105, 2000 (Journal Indexed in SCI) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 10
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Doi Number: 10.1055/s-2008-1072335
  • Page Numbers: pp.100-105


A retrospective clinical study was performed to evaluate the etiology, incidence, diagnosis, management and outcome of patients presenting with surgical injury to the biliary tract. 4 boys were treated for operative biliary tract injuries between 1970 and 1997. This number represents less than 0.03% of all patients who underwent laparotomy in our unit during the same period. The mean age of the patients at presentation was 7.5 +/- 3 (range, 4 to 10 years). Accidental ligation of choledochus (n=2), Vascular insult of the biliary tract (n=1) and formalin toxicity (n =1) were the causes of injuries. The tatter presented with caustic sclerosing cholangitis and biliocutaneous fistula while obstructive cholangitis (n=2) and jaundice (n=1) were noted in the remaining patients. The duration between surgical injury and presentation ranged from 6 to 125 days. All patients presented with elevated levels of transaminases, alkaline phosphatase and bilirubin. Ultrasonography, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography and biliary drainage catheter placement were performed in all patients to Visualize the extent of injury and to provide better patient status for operation. Biliary stent application provided temporary relief of obstruction in one patient, but all patients required surgical treatment subsequently. Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomy (n=3), and choledochoduodenostomy (n=1) were the operative procedures. No complications were encountered in the short and long-term follow-up. Our experience revealed that surgical biliary tract injuries have special features that warrant consideration with respect to prevention and management in children. They may be caused by partial or complete transection, suture ligation, clip application or vascular insult and can be avoided by adequate exposure, accurate gentle dissection, use of hemostatic clips rather than clamps and ties, and the liberal use of operative cho[angiography. The presenting clinical picture depends on the cause, extent and duration of the injuries. Preoperative detailed evaluation of the hepatobiliary system by radiological and endoscopic means is mandatory for successful treatment. Percutaneous and/or endoscopic techniques can be employed in selected cases, but if these fail or can not be done, open surgical techniques should be performed without hesitation as delayed treatment results in biliary cirrhosis and hepatic failure. Excision of excessive scar tissue at the biliary tract and portal hilus, constructing the widest possible stoma, obtaining mucosa to mucosa approximation around 360 degrees, enduring a good blood supply to the anastomotic line and avoiding tension on the anastomosis are mainstays of successful surgery. Thus, reconstructive biliary tract surgery should be considered as a specialized procedure and should be performed by skillful and experienced hands.