Although laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has been standard of care for symptomatic gallstone disease for almost 30 years, the use of routine intraoperative cholangiogram (IOC) remains controversial. There are marked variations in the use IOC during LC internationally. Debate has continued about its benefit, in part because of inconsistent benefit, time, and resources required to complete IOC. This literature review is presented as a debate to outline the arguments in favour of and against routine IOC in laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

Results: From this controversies piece we found that there is little discernible change in the number of BDIs requiring repair procedures. Although IOC is associated with a small absolute reduction in bile duct injury, there are other confounding factors, including a change in laparoscopic learning curves. Alternative technologies such as intra-operative ultrasound, indocyanine green imaging, and increased access to ERCP may contribute to a reduction in the need for routine IOC.

Conclusions: In spite of 30 years of accumulating evidence, routine IOC remains controversial. As technology advances, it is likely that alternative methods of imaging (such as ICG) and accessing the bile duct will supplant routine IOC.

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