Surgical Endoscopy

, Volume 33, Issue 12, pp 4128–4132 | Cite as

Barriers to adoption of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in a county hospital in Guatemala

  • Jonathan B. Imran
  • Annie Ochoa-Hernandez
  • Juan Herrejon
  • Cesar Ortiz
  • Blarimir Mijangos
  • Tarik Madni
  • Sergio HuertaEmail author



Despite international efforts to increase performance of laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) in rural Guatemala, the vast majority of cholecystectomies are still performed via the open cholecystectomy (OC) approach. Our goal was to explore barriers to the adoption of LC in Guatemala as well as possible mechanisms to overcome them.


We reviewed 9402 cholecystectomies performed over 14 years by surgeons at the Hospital Nacional de San Benito (HNSB) in El Peten, Guatemala, with either an open or a laparoscopic approach. We conducted personal interviews with all the surgeons who perform cholecystectomies at HNSB to determine current practice and barriers to adopting LC.


Overall, seven general surgeons were interviewed who regularly perform cholecystectomy. Of the total number of cholecystectomies reviewed, 8440 (90%) were open and 962 (10%) were laparoscopic. The mean number of cholecystectomies performed per surgeon was 1341.1 ± 1244.9, with OC at 1205.7 ± 1194.9, and LC at 137.4 ± 188.0. Lack of formal training in laparoscopy was identified in 57% of surgeons. Lack of government funds to implement a laparoscopic program was noted by 71% of surgeons (29% felt there was insufficient ancillary staff, 29% poor allocation of hospital funding to purchase laparoscopic equipment/training). Lack of sufficient laparoscopic equipment was identified by 71% of surgeons.


Ninety percent of cholecystectomies performed by surgeons at HNSB continue to be OC. The major limitation is the lack of funding to provide sufficient equipment or ancillary staff. The majority of surgeons preferred to perform LC if these problems could be addressed.


Guatemala Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy Rural Low-income Barriers 



The authors would like to thank Dave Primm for his expertise in editing this manuscript.

Compliance with ethical standards


Jonathan B. Imran, Annie Ochoa-Hernandez, Juan Herrejon, Cesar Ortiz, Blarimir Mijangos, Tarik Madni, and Sergio Huerta have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan B. Imran
    • 1
  • Annie Ochoa-Hernandez
    • 2
  • Juan Herrejon
    • 1
  • Cesar Ortiz
    • 2
  • Blarimir Mijangos
    • 2
  • Tarik Madni
    • 1
  • Sergio Huerta
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Texas Southwestern Medical CenterDallasUSA
  2. 2.Hospital Nacional de San BenitoEl PetenGuatemala
  3. 3.VA North Texas Health Care System, Dallas VA Medical CenterUniversity of Texas SouthwesternDallasUSA

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