Results of laparoscopic cholecystectomy in a third-level university hospital after 17 years of experience

Rev Esp Enferm Dig. 2009 Jan;101(1):20-30. doi: 10.4321/s1130-01082009000100003.
[Article in English, Spanish]


Objective: The aim of the study is to determine the results obtained with laparoscopic cholecystectomy at Ramón y Cajal Hospital after 17 years of experience, comparing current results with those at the beginning of the experience.

Material and methods: Between 1991 and December 2007, 3,933 laparoscopic cholecystectomies were performed at the "Ramón y Cajal Hospital"; 1,849 patients were operated on between 1991 and 2000, and 2,084 between 2001 and 2007. Patients studied included 69.8% of women and 30.2% of men, with a mean age of 56.95 years (range 9-94 years). In all, 54.68% of patients had a concomitant disease before surgery (hypertension, diabetes, ischemic heart disease, respiratory disease). Surgery was performed by a staff surgeon for 58.04% of cases, and by a resident in the remaining 41.96%. Surgical indications were cholelithiasis in 75.5%, pancreatitis in 13.3%, cholecystitis in 6.3%, choledocholithiasis in 3.05%, and others in 1.2% of cases.

Results: Mean hospital stay was 3.06 days. Conversion to open surgery was required for 8.3% of cases (331 patients). The major surgical complication rate was 2.34%, with the most frequent being hemoperitoneum (1%). Common bile duct injury occurred in thirteen cases (0.3%), 51 patients (1.3%) were soon re-operated, and 5 patients died (0.13%). When the results of both decades (1991-2000 vs. 2001-2007) were compared, we observed differences in the number of procedures performed by residents (31.7 vs. 51.1%, p = 0.00001), number of laparoscopic cholecystectomies for cholecystitis (4.9 vs. 7.53%, p = 0.001), conversion rate (5.46 vs. 11%, p = 0.000001), and mean hospital stay (2.43 vs. 3.7 days, p = 0.001).

Conclusion: These results should be interpreted with caution as this is a retrospective study with multiple uncontrolled variables (high number of surgeons and continuous learning curve). The lower conversion rate and mean hospital stay in the first decade of the learning curve are amazing, although this could be related to better patient selection and a lower number of cholecystites operated using a laparoscopic approach in the initial series. In general, these results are acceptable and concur with the rest of the literature.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Algorithms
  • Child
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic* / adverse effects
  • Female
  • Hospitals, University
  • Humans
  • Intraoperative Complications* / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult