Tumor staging in patients with a malignant obstruction of the proximal bile duct is focused on selecting patients who could benefit from a resection. Diagnostic laparoscopy, which has proved its value in several gastrointestinal malignancies, has been used routinely at our hospital since 1993 in patients with a malignant obstruction of the proximal bile duct, although data in the literature with regard to its additional value are conflicting. Therefore the diagnostic accuracy of diagnostic laparoscopy in patients with malignant proximal bile duct obstruction was evaluated. From January 1993 to May 2000, diagnostic laparoscopy was performed in 110 patients (61 males and 49 females), with a mean age of 60 years (range 30 to 80 years), who had a suspected malignant proximal bile duct tumor and in whom "potential resectability" was demonstrated by means of conventional radiologic staging methods (i.e., ultrasound combined with Doppler imaging, CT, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography). Laparoscopy revealed histologically proved incurable disease in 44 (41%) of the 110 patients (31 with metastases and 13 with extensive tumor ingrowth). Laparoscopic ultrasound imaging, however, revealed histologically proved incurable disease in one patient (1%), thereby preventing exploratory laparotomy in 46 because these patients had already been treated by palliative endoscopic stent placement. The remaining 65 patients were staged as having a resectable tumor and underwent surgical exploration. Thirty patients had an unresectable tumor (distant metastases in five; tumor ingrowth in surrounding tissues in 24) or benign disease (one patient). Sensitivity and negative predictive value of diagnostic laparoscopy for detecting unresectable disease were 60% and 52%, respectively. Diagnostic laparoscopy avoided unnecessary laparotomy in 41% of patients with a malignant proximal bile duct obstruction considered resectable according to conventional imaging studies. The additional value of laparoscopic ultrasound was limited. Therefore diagnostic laparoscopy should be performed routinely in the workup of patients with a potentially resectable proximal bile duct tumor.
- Bile duct neoplasms, laparoscopy
- Neoplasm staging/methods
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