Controversies in choledochal malformation
Choledochal malformations (some of which are choledochal cysts) may be characterised as an abnormal dilatation of the biliary tract in the absence of acute obstruction. Most appear to be of congenital origin, probably related to distal bile duct stenosis, and almost 15% can now be detected antenatally. Excision and biliary reconstruction using a Roux loop as an open operation is still the standard to compare against, although laparoscopic reconstruction is increasingly reported. This article discusses recent advances in the understanding of choledochal malformation aetiology and classification, together with the role of newer modalites of surgical treatment such as laparoscopic excision and biliary reconstruction. Although these are definitely feasible, care should be taken before dispensing with standard open techniques that have minimal complications and proven long-term benefit.