Circumferential choledochoplasties with vascular grafts have rarely been attempted either experimentally or in clinical practice. In this study, choledochoplasties using autologous venous and arterial grafts were performed in rats. Sixty‐four rats were randomly selected into five treatment groups: A) venous interpositional graft replacement of a choledochus gap without a stent; B) venous graft with prolene stent; C) venous graft with polyethylene stent; D) arterial graft; E) a control group with simple resection between ligatures in the choledochus. The operative mortality in treatment groups B, C, D, and E, was 0, and 13% in group A. At 12 weeks follow‐up, all the rats in group E had died, whereas, 52.2% (P <.05) of the rats in group A, 30% of the rats in group B, 57% of the rats in group C, and 92.8% of the rats in group D survived treatment. Surviving animals were sacrificed at 3 months for further examination. The morphology and caliber of the common bile duct of these rats were normal in 25% of the rats in group A, 33% of the rats in group B, 25% of the rats in group C, and 84.6% of the rats in group D. Proximal dilations were found in the rats presenting with abnormal morphology. The dilations were less marked in the group treated by arterial choledochoplasties. Laboratory and clinical cholestatic parameters were within normal ranges in the presence of common bile duct dilations less than four times the normal duct caliber. Electron microscopic examination of the venous and arterial graft at 3 months follow‐up revealed a fibrous ring composed of collagen fibers, fibroblasts, and remnants of elastic fibers. Regenerated ductal epithelium encompassed both types of grafts. Epithelialization was more pronounced in venous grafts as compared to arterial grafts. Biliary epithelium was able to colonize the venous grafts and resume cell specialization and function as in normal biliary epithelium. The most satisfactory results were obtained using venous grafts with stents or by using arterial grafts. © 1993 Wiley‐Liss Inc.
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