Our aim was to examine the long-term success of cholecystoenterostomy performed for the relief of benign extrahepatic biliary obstruction. Concern about the ability of cholecystoenterostomy to provide reliable long-term biliary decompression has led many to abandon its use for benign biliary obstruction. Thirty-four patients who underwent cholecystoenterostomy for benign biliary obstruction over a 17-year period were reviewed. Patients were followed until cholecystoenterostomy failure, death, or to date. Failure was defined as recurrent biliary obstruction or cholangitis requiring therapeutic intervention. Mean follow-up was 8.0 years. Early postoperative morbidity occurred in 11 patients (32%), but only one early complication (cholangitis) was related directly to the cholecystoenteric anastomosis. Five patients (15%) experienced late biliary tract complications related directly to the cholecystoenterostomy including recurrent biliary stones with biliary obstruction in four and anastomotic stricture in one. All required reoperation and conversion to choledochoenterostomy at a mean of 112 months. Cholecystoenterostomy can provide reasonably effective long-term biliary decompression in selected patients with benign biliary obstruction.
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