Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive procedure whereby the gallbladder is removed using laparoscopic techniques. The indications are similar to those for elective traditional cholecystectomy, but selection of patients is important for success. Contraindications are currently evolving. Patients with advanced cholecystitis, abdominal sepsis, ileus, bleeding disorders, pregnancy, and morbid obesity should not undergo this procedure. The procedure requires good traditional surgical skills, as well as additional laparoscopic (and laser) skills. Operative time is slightly longer than for traditional cholecystectomy, but decreases with experience. Morbidity is low, but there is a concern about bile duct injuries. Mortality is very low (0%) and is comparable to traditional cholecystectomy (0.4%). The major advantages of laparoscopic cholecystectomy are the short hospital stay (average: 2 days) and early return to normal activity (7 days). This results in a reduction in hospital costs. Adequate training and credentialing are important processes to foster good patient outcomes.
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