Aim: Gallstone disease is the most common cause of acute pancreatitis. Cholecystectomy is mandatory to avoid recurrence of pancreatitis. Our objective was to evaluate the results of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) in patients with gall-stone induced pancreatitis.
Methods: All patients presenting to us within the time frame from February 2004 to June 2008 with acute biliary pancreatitis were included in the study. The severity of pancreatitis was assessed by Ranson’s criteria. ERCP and endoscopic sphincterotomy was performed when the common bile duct (CBD) was dilated (>6 mm) with either calculi or sludge as seen on imaging. Patients with successful ERCP with predicted demanding laparoscopic cholecystectomy were discharged instead for an elective LC, 4-6 weeks later. Patients with mild pancreatitis (with Ranson’s score of 3 or less) and predicted uncomplicated LC underwent surgery at the same admission. The difficulty of the procedure was determined by the presence of adhesions in the gallbladder area, dissection in Calot’s triangle, tackling the dilated cystic duct, intra-operative bleeding, and the need for a drain.
Results: A total of 26 patients (12 male and 14 female; age range 23-75 years) with acute biliary pancreatitis comprised the study group. Eleven patients with suspected choledocholithiasis underwent ERCP and clearance of the CBD was done in all of them. Nine patients (2 ERCP and 7 non-ERCP) underwent early LC in the same admission. Seventeen patients (9 ERCP and 8 non-ERCP) were predicted as difficult cases for LC and underwent delayed LC. No patient had recurrent pancreatitis in the interval period. Conclusion: There was no significant difference in the operative difficulty between early and delayed LC when patients were selected for timing of LC based on pre-defined criteria.