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Three-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy is safe and efficient in the treatment of surgical biliary disease: a retrospective cohort study

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Multiple studies have suggested that three-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy is both feasible and safe. However, this approach has failed to gain acceptance outside of clinical trials, leaving adopters of this approach vulnerable to medico-legal scrutiny. We hypothesized that the three-port approach to laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) is safe and efficient in experienced hands. All LC (including robotic) cases were performed on patients 18 years and older between November 2018 and March 2020. Operations utilizing three ports were compared to those performed using more than three ports. The primary outcomes measured were total operative time, conversion-to-open rate, and the complication rate. A two-sample test was performed to compare operative times, and a Fisher’s exact test was used to compare conversion-to-open and complication rates. Linear regression models were used to account for the effect of confounders. 924 total LCs were performed by 30 surgeons in the study period (71 three-port, 853 four or more ports). The mean operative time was 10 min shorter in the three-port group in comparison (64.1 ± 1.4 min vs. 74.4 ± 1.8 min, p < 0.01), despite a threefold higher rate of intraoperative cholangiogram in these cases (23.0% vs. 7.9%, p < 0.001). There was no significant difference in either the conversion-to-open rate (1.6% vs. 5.1%, p = 0.35), or the overall complication rate (7.1% vs. 8.7%, p = 0.82). Operative time for LC performed through three ports was significantly less than those performed through the traditional four port approach, despite utilizing intraoperative cholangiogram nearly three times as often. There was no difference in the conversion-to open rate or complication rate. These results provide considerable evidence that three-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy is comparable to four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy in operative duration, conversion-to-open rate, and complication rate.

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Correspondence to James E. Wiseman.

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Wiseman, J.E., Hsu, CH. & Oviedo, R.J. Three-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy is safe and efficient in the treatment of surgical biliary disease: a retrospective cohort study. J Robotic Surg 17, 147–154 (2023).

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