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BACKGROUND: The management of cholelithiasis and choledocholithiasis combined is controversial. The more frequent approach is a two-stage procedure, with endoscopic sphincterotomy and stone removal from the bile duct followed by laparoscopic cholecystectomy. This study aims to demonstrate how, on the basis of the personal experience, the Rendez-vous technique, that combines the two techniques in a single-stage operation is better than the sequential treatment.
METHODS: Between June 2017 to December 2019, 40 consecutive patients with cholelithiasis and choledocholithiasis combined were enrolled for the study: 20 were treated with the sequential treatment and 20 with the Rendez-vous method. The preoperative diagnostic work-up was similar in the two group. The endpoints of the study included incidence of endoscopic and surgical complications, rate of hospitalization and cost analysis.
RESULTS: The study showed no difference in demographic parameters between the two groups, but the success rate of clearance of CBD was significantly smaller for sequential arm, with the need of additional procedures. We found a statistical reduction of postoperative acute pancreatitis, hospital stay and charges in Rendez-vous group, at the expense of a prolonged total operating time.
CONCLUSIONS: The data of the study confirm the superiority of the Rendez-vous technique because it resolves cholelithiasis associated with choledocholithiasis in a single surgical act, with greater acceptance of the patient who avoids a second invasive surgical act, and with a reduction in complications; moreover, it requires shorter hospitalization, resulting in reduced costs. We propose this option in the management of cases where preoperative ERCP-ES has failed.