Introduction: The journey from conventional "open" operations to truly "minimally invasive" operations naturally includes progression from operations involving multiple trocars and multiple incisions to operations involving access through the umbilicus alone. Laparoscopic operations through the umbilicus alone, laparoendoscopic single site surgery (LESS), offer improved cosmesis and hopes for less pain and improved recovery. This study was undertaken to evaluate our initial experience with LESS cholecystectomy and to compare our initial experience to concurrent outcomes with more conventional multiport, multi-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Methods: All patients referred for cholecystectomy over a 6-month period were offered LESS. Outcomes, including blood loss, operative time, complications, and length of stay were recorded. Outcomes with our first LESS cholecystectomies were compared to an uncontrolled group of concurrent patients undergoing multiport, multi-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy at the same hospital by the same surgeon.
Results: Twenty-nine patients of median age 50 years undergoing LESS cholecystectomy from November 2007 until May 2008 were compared to 29* patients, median age 48 years, undergoing standard multiport, multiple-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy over the same time period. Median operative time for patients undergoing LESS cholecystectomy was 72 min and was not different from that of patients undergoing multiport, multi-incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (p = 0.81). Median length of hospital stay was 1.0 day for patients undergoing LESS cholecystectomy and was not different from patients undergoing standard laparoscopic cholecystectomy (p = 0.46). Operative estimated blood loss was less than 100 cc for all patients. No patients undergoing attempted LESS cholecystectomy had conversions to "open" operations; two patients had an additional trocar(s) placed distant from the umbilicus to aid in exposure. Three patients undergoing LESS cholecystectomy had complications: two were troubled by pain control and another had urinary retention.
Conclusions: LESS cholecystectomy is a safe and effective alternative to standard laparoscopic cholecystectomy. It can be undertaken without the expense of added operative time and provides patients with minimal, if any, apparent scarring. We believe LESS cholecystectomy will be driven by consumer demand, and therefore, laparoscopic surgeons will need to become proficient with LESS procedures.