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02.11.2018 | Pictorial Review | Ausgabe 6/2018 Open Access

Insights into Imaging 6/2018

Early cross-sectional imaging following open and laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a primer for radiologists

Insights into Imaging > Ausgabe 6/2018
Massimo Tonolini, Anna Maria Ierardi, Francesca Patella, Gianpaolo Carrafiello
Wichtige Hinweise

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Performed on either an elective or urgent basis, cholecystectomy currently represents the most common abdominal operation due to the widespread use of laparoscopy and the progressively expanded indications. Compared to traditional open surgery, laparoscopic cholecystectomy minimised the duration of hospitalisation and perioperative mortality. Albeit generally considered safe, cholecystectomy may result in adverse outcomes with non-negligible morbidity. Furthermore, the incidence of worrisome haemorrhages and biliary complications has not been influenced by the technique shift. Due to the growing medico-legal concerns and the vast number of cholecystectomies, radiologists are increasingly requested to investigate recently operated patients. Aiming to increase familiarity with post-cholecystectomy cross-sectional imaging, this paper provides a brief overview of indications and surgical techniques and illustrates the expected early postoperative imaging findings. Afterwards, most iatrogenic complications following open, converted, laparoscopic and laparo-endoscopic rendezvous cholecystectomy are reviewed with examples, including infections, haematoma and active bleeding, residual choledocholithiasis, pancreatitis, biliary obstruction and leakage. Multidetector computed tomography (CT) represents the “workhorse” modality to rapidly investigate the postoperative abdomen in order to provide a reliable basis for an appropriate choice between conservative, interventional or surgical treatment. Emphasis is placed on the role of early magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) and additional gadoxetic acid-enhanced MRCP to provide a non-invasive anatomic and functional assessment of the operated biliary tract.

Teaching Points

Having minimised perioperative mortality and hospital stay, laparoscopy has now become the first-line approach to performing cholecystectomy, even in patients with acute cholecystitis.
Laparoscopic, laparo-endoscopic rendezvous, converted and open cholecystectomy remain associated with non-negligible morbidity, including surgical site infections, haemorrhage, residual lithiasis, pancreatitis, biliary obstruction and leakage.
Contrast-enhanced multidetector computed tomography (CT) is increasingly requested early after cholecystectomy and represents the “workhorse” modality that rapidly provides a comprehensive assessment of the operated biliary tract and abdomen.
Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) is the best modality to provide anatomic visualisation of the operated biliary tract and is indicated when biliary complications are suspected.
Additional gadoxetic acid (Gd-EOB-DTPA)-enhanced MRCP non-invasively provides functional biliary assessment, in order to confirm and visualise bile leakage.
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