Biliary dyskinesia in pediatrics

Srinath, A.; Saps, M.; Bielefeldt, K.

Pediatr Ann. 2014 Apr 11; 43(4):e83-8


Biliary dyskinesia (BD) is a diagnosis that is being made increasingly in children. It is defined by abdominal pain thought to be biliary in nature based on location and character; a completely normal gallbladder on imaging tests, typically ultrasound; and decreased gallbladder contraction in response to a pharmacological stimulus. Unlike other functional gastrointestinal disorders (FGIDs) that are treated with medications, behavioral therapy, and/or dietary modification, current clinical practice has accepted cholecystectomy as the treatment of choice for BD, which now accounts for up to 50% of cholecystectomies in children. Although well-designed trials are missing, accumulating evidence argues against such an approach. First, BD is by definition a benign disorder without risk of truly relevant complications. Second, despite reportedly high rates of satisfaction with postoperative outcomes, most children continue to experience symptoms. Lastly, limited long-term studies have demonstrated comparable benefit of operative and conservative therapy. To summarize, BD should be seen as a more localized manifestation of functional abdominal pain, which may improve over time independent of the type of therapy chosen. Despite the widespread adoption of minimally invasive surgery in pediatrics, a different risk-benefit ratio favors conservative treatment for this benign disorder.

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