Clinical Prospect of Applying the Chemical Bile Duct Embolization to Achieve a Chemical Hepatectomy in the Treatment of Highly Selected Hepatolithiasis

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Abstract

The high recurrence rate of hepatolithiasis, together with the high operative risk of hepatectomy for specifically located stones shows that an effective treatment for intrahepatic stones has not been settled upon. It is commonly accepted that a diseased biliary duct mucosa is a prerequisite for the development of intrahepatic stones, and that segmental biliary obstruction is able to induce hepatic atrophy, fibrosis, and “self-cut” the obstructed hepatic segment. Therefore, we previously put forward the hypothesis that performing deliberate chemical bile duct embolization (CBDE) to induce a segmental chemical hepatectomy might be the way of treating hepatolithiasis. In this study, we review the relative experimental basis for CBDE, preliminary report on its clinical use in 2 patients, and speculate on its future application. To completely embolize a diseased biliary duct, absolute ethanol or phenol is firstly used to ablate the biliary mucosa and eradicate biliary bacteria. Subsequently, cyanoacrylate or tissue adhesive glue is used to permanently fill the duct lumen, occupying the space where the stones would have formed. Our prior laboratory investigations and preliminary clinical treatments have confirmed that this combination of embolization agents could not only achieve the desired aim of preventing stone recurrence but could also lead to complete atrophy of the targeted hepatic segment, thereby achieving a chemical hepatectomy. In the future, CBDE is likely to help in resolving the problem of calculous recurrence and thereby reduce the incidence of surgical reintervention and endoscopic stone extractions, which are so frequently needed in patients with hepatolithiasis. Also chemical hepatectomy might provide a new less-invasive hepatectomy method, especially for the more difficult resections of the caudate or right posterior lobes.

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