On the basis of our experience with operative ultrasonography during hepatobiliary and pancreatic surgery, its indications, benefits, and disadvantages are summarized. High- resolution operative ultrasound scanning of the liver, biliary tract, and pancreas was performed during 357, 735, and 242 operations, respectively. The benefits of operative ultrasonography were categorized as acquisition of diagnostic information otherwise not available, replacement for or complement to operative radiography, and guidance of surgical procedures. Operative ultrasonography provided beneficial information during 73 of 82 hepatic operations (89.0%), 57 of 69 noncalculous biliary operations (82.6%), and 177 of 242 pancreatic operations (73.1%). Operative ultrasonography was significantly superior (sensitivity 93.3%) to other screening tests for diagnosing liver metastasis from colorectal carcinoma evaluated in 189 patients, and it detected previously unrecognized metastatic tumors in 18 patients (9.5%). For screening common bile duct calculi during 666 operations, operative ultrasonography and operative cholangiography were comparable in all indices of accuracy except for a higher predictability of a positive test of operative ultrasonography (94.8% versus 71.7%). For diagnosing portal vein invasion of pancreatic carcinoma, operative ultrasonography provided better overall accuracy than preoperative studies (89.7% versus 64.1%). On the basis of operative ultrasound findings, previously planned surgical procedures were altered in 32 of 82 hepatic operations (39.0%) and 24 of 145 pancreatic operations for chronic pancreatitis (16.6%). Operative ultrasound guidance of various surgical procedures was performed during 88 hepatic and 84 pancreatic operations, including 40 ultrasound- guided hepatectomies and 42 pancreatotomies. Operative ultrasonography has a number of advantages, such as safety and speed in performance, wide application, high diagnostic accuracy, and ability of guiding procedures. Its disadvantages are the limitation of the fields of view in certain applications, the need for special equipment, and a slow learning curve.
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