Safety of Laparoscopic Approach for Acute Cholecystitis: Retrospective Study of 609 Cases
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Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is now widely accepted as the modality of choice for the treatment of symptomatic uncomplicated cholelithiasis. The application of the laparoscopic technique in the setting of acute cholecystitis (AC) is more controversial. The precise role as well as the potential benefits of LC in the treatment of the acutely inflamed gallbladder have not been clearly established through large clinical series. The aim of our study was to assess the feasibility, safety, benefits, and specific complications of the laparoscopic approach in patients with AC. A retrospective chart analysis involving the patients admitted to two busy emergency digestive surgical units between October 1990 and December 1997 was carried out. Six hundred and nine patients meeting our criteria for AC were identified and evaluated. Overall complication rate was 15% with 12 postoperative bile leakages (1.97%) and 4 biliary tract injuries (BTI) (0.66%). The overall mortality rate was 0.66%. Local and overall complication rates were significantly correlated with the delay between the onset of acute symptoms and the operation but not the rate of general complications nor deaths. Our results demonstrate the safety and feasibility of LC in the setting of AC. Early cholecystectomy within 4 days is strongly recommended to minimize complications and increase the chances of a successful laparoscopic approach.
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