Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a safe and effective treatment of cholelithiasis in experienced hands. Mortality is rare. The Southern Surgeons Club data and several other recent large series indicate that major complications occur in less than 3% of patients. The most significant common complication is injury to the bile duct, for which the greatest risk factor is inexperience. Major biliary injury usually requires reoperation. Roux-en-Y hepaticojejunostomies, often multiple, are usually necessary for repair. The popularity of this technique continues, and further efforts should be focused on elimination of the learning curve for major biliary injury. If injuries do occur, they should be recognized early, and patients should be referred to centers experienced in their treatment.
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