Complications following cholecystectomy

G. C. Roviaro, M. Maciocco, C. Rebuffat, F. Varoli, V. Vergani, G. Rabughino, A. Scarduelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is considered the gold standard for cholelithiasis. Nevertheless possible complications must not be underestimated. In this department, from 1 July 1991 to 30 November 1995, 1005 patients with cholelithiasis underwent videocholecystectomy. There was no peri-operative mortality. In 36 cases (3.6%) the procedure was changed to laparotomy. In four cases (0.4%) conversion was mandatory due to severe complications: in three patients while introducing a trocar (one aortic lesion, one middle colic vein injury and one visceral perforation) and in one patient due to bleeding in the hepatic hilar region. In 32 cases (3.2%) conversion was carried out electively. This was due to technical difficulties or to choledocholithiasis (22 patients), anaesthesiological problems (three cases), biliodigestive fistula (one), bile spillage from accessory hepatic ducts (three), unexpected colonic cancer (one), instrument malfunction (two cases). Twenty-four patients (2.4%) experienced post-operative complications: one with pneumothorax, two with bile leakage (one bile duct damage, and one cystic duct leakage), eight with haemoperitoneum, five with subphrenic abscess, three with anaemia, three with intraparietal collections, one with bilateral basal bronchopneumonia, one with perforated duodenal stress ulcer. Of these, 11 patients (1%) underwent reintervention: five re-laparoscopies, three conversions, and three open laparotomies. This study demonstrates the safety of videolaparocholecystectomy. Complications are relatively rare and can be often dealt with conservative treatment or re-laparoscopy. Complications are often linked to insertion of a blind trocar or to the induction of a closed pneumoperitoneum. Meticulous technique or open laparoscopy minimize these risks. Conversion must not be considered a defeat but a wise decision in the face of major difficulties. Under these principles, videocholecystectomy is safe and represents the best treatment of gallbladder stones.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-328
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1997


  • Cholelithiasis
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy
  • Video cholecystectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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