Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is performed through several small incisions. The laparoscope, a small thin tube, is put into the abdomen through a tiny cut made just below the navel. The surgeon can then see the gallbladder on a TV monitor and do the surgery with tools inserted in three other small cuts made in the right upper part of the abdomen. The gallbladder is then taken out through one of the incisions. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy permits a shorter hospital stay and shorter recovery time with less pain. Possible complications may include bleeding, infection and injury to the bile duct, intestines or major blood vessels.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy provides a safe and effective treatment for most patients with symptomatic gallstones and has become the treatment of choice for many patients. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy decreases pain and disability without increasing mortality or overall morbidity. Although the rate of common bile duct injury appears increased, this rate is still sufficiently small to justify the use of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the treatment of symptomatic gallstones. The cost of laparoscopic cholecystectomy is equal to or slightly less than that of open cholecystectomy. The outcome of laparoscopic cholecystectomy is influenced greatly by the training, experience, skill, and judgment of the surgeon. During laparoscopic cholecystectomy, when the anatomy is obscured, excessive bleeding occurs, or other problems arise, the operation should be converted promptly to open cholecystectomy. See also: Open cholecystectomy.