Intraoperative detection of aberrant biliary anatomy via intraoperative cholangiography during laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Marthe Chehade, Benedict Kakala, Jane Louise Sinclair, Tony Pang, Rafid Al Asady, Arthur Richardson, Henry Pleass, Vincent Lam, Emma Johnston, Lawrence Yuen, Michael Hollands*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is the standard of treatment for symptomatic cholelithiasis. Although intraoperative cholangiography (IOC) is widely used as an adjunct to LC, there is still no worldwide consensus on the value of its routine use. Anatomical studies have shown that variations of the biliary tree are present in approximately 35% of patients with variations in right hepatic second-order ducts being especially common (15–20%). Approximately, 70–80% of all iatrogenic bile duct injuries are a consequence of misidentification of biliary anatomy. The purpose of this study was to assess the adequacy of and the reporting of IOCs during LC. Methods: IOCs obtained from 300 consecutive LCs between July 2014 and July 2016 were analysed retrospectively by two surgical trainees and confirmed by a radiologist. Biliary tree anatomy was classified from IOC films as described by Couinaud (1957) and correlated with documented findings. The accuracy of intraoperative reporting was assessed. Biliary anatomy was correlated to clinical outcome. Results: A total of 95% of IOCs adequately demonstrated biliary anatomy. Aberrant right sectoral ducts were identified in 15.2% of the complete IOCs, and 2.6% demonstrated left sectoral or confluence anomalies. Only 20.4% of these were reported intraoperatively. Bile leaks occurred in two patients who had IOCs (0.73%) and two who did not (7.4%). Conclusion: Surgeons generally demonstrate biliary anatomy well on IOC but reporting of sectoral duct variation can be improved. Further research is needed to determine whether anatomical variation is related to ductal injury.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)889-894
Number of pages6
JournalANZ Journal of Surgery
Issue number7-8
Early online date13 May 2019
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • anatomy
  • biliary
  • cholangiogram
  • cholecystectomy


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