Gangrenous cholecystitis: innovative laparoscopic techniques to facilitate subtotal fenestrating cholecystectomy when a critical view of safety cannot be achieved
Gangrenous cholecystitis is associated with a higher conversion rate of conversion from laparoscopic to open than acute non-gangrenous cholecystitis. New strategies and techniques are needed to decrease conversion rates and improve outcomes.
In this article, we provide a richly detailed, illustrated description of a modified fundus-first technique that we have developed over the last 15 years and now use routinely with rare conversions. We also compared outcomes of laparoscopic (LC) and open (OC) approaches for pathologically confirmed gangrenous cholecystitis in 146 patients during 1995–2005, the first 10 years during which these two approaches were performed contemporaneously at our institution on comparable patients.
Among the 142 patients that met the inclusion criteria, laparoscopic procedures were started in 112 (79%) of these patients, with successful completion in 72 resulting in an overall conversion rate of 36%. During the last 5 years, however, in cases where the described laparoscopic technique was used, no patient has required conversion. The laparoscopic LC group had shorter average ICU stay (p < 0.05) and overall length of stay (2 vs 6 days, p < 0.001). Intraoperative cholangiography was completed in 37 of 72 LC patients (52%) versus 6 of 30 OC (20%). In five of the LC patients, a filling defect was seen on the cholangiogram and laparoscopic transcystic common bile duct stones, thereby avoiding a second anesthetic and endoscopic procedure.
In the setting of severe inflammation, a number of procedural modifications can be incorporated to allow the surgeon to approach dissection of the gangrenous gallbladder using a flexible operative plan designed to optimize safe completion of this challenging procedure, with the expected improvement in surgical outcomes.