An analytical review of vasculobiliary injury in laparoscopic and open cholecystectomy

Steven M. Strasberg, W. Scott Helton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

191 Scopus citations


Objectives: Biliary injuries are frequently accompanied by vascular injuries, which may worsen the bile duct injury and cause liver ischemia. We performed an analytical review with the aim of defining vasculobiliary injury and setting out the important issues in this area. Methods: A literature search of relevant terms was peformed using OvidSP. Bibliographies of papers were also searched to obtain older literature. Results: Vasculobiliary injury was defined as: an injury to both a bile duct and a hepatic artery and/or portal vein; the bile duct injury may be caused by operative trauma, be ischaemic in origin or both, and may or may not be accompanied by various degrees of hepatic ischaemia. Right hepatic artery (RHA) vasculobiliary injury (VBI) is the most common variant. Injury to the RHA likely extends the biliary injury to a higher level than the gross observed mechanical injury. VBI results in slow hepatic infarction in about 10% of patients. Repair of the artery is rarely possible and the overall benefit unclear. Injuries involving the portal vein or common or proper hepatic arteries are much less common, but have more serious effects including rapid infarction of the liver. Conclusions: Routine arteriography is recommended in patients with a biliary injury if early repair is contemplated. Consideration should be given to delaying repair of a biliary injury in patients with occlusion of the RHA. Patients with injuries to the portal vein or proper or common hepatic should be emergently referred to tertiary care centers.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2011


  • bileduct injury
  • biliary injury
  • cholecystectomy
  • hepatic infarction
  • liver abscess
  • vasculobiliary injury


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