Complications of laparoscopic cholecystectomy: our experience in a district general hospital

Surg Laparosc Endosc Percutan Tech. 2009 Dec;19(6):449-58. doi: 10.1097/SLE.0b013e3181bd8f6d.


Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the procedure of choice for the treatment of symptomatic gallstone disease. Some of the associated complications are rare, but often serious. The purpose of this study is to present our data about the type and the incidence of these complications and our experience in their management, in a district hospital, during the last 8 years.

Patients and methods: A retrospective study was performed on 1009 patients, 229 males and 780 females, with age ranging from 19 to 84 years, who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy for symptomatic gallstone disease, during the period from January 2000 to January 2008. The procedure was performed urgently due to acute cholecystitis in 78 patients (7.73%).

Results: Complications occurred in 96 (9.51%) patients. Bile leakage occurred in 15 patients (1.49%). One patient (0.10%) had a major bile duct injury (common bile duct transection). Bleeding occurred in 9 patients (0.89%), wound infection in 14 patients (1.39%), abdominal wall hematomas in 3 patients (0.30%), omental hematoma in 3 patients (0.30%), port site hernias in 3 patients (0.30%), subphrenic abscess in 1 patient (0.10%), subcapsular liver hematoma in 1 patient (0.10%), bowel injury in 5 patients (0.51%), postoperative acute pancreatitis in 4 patients (0.40%), respiratory and cardiovascular complications in 11 patients 1.09%). Finally in 14 patients (1.39%), the gallbladder was unintentionally opened during laparoscopic procedure and spillage of gallstones occurred into the peritoneal cavity. All patients had satisfactory results and no death occurred.

Conclusions: We conclude that laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a safe procedure, although it is associated with some serious complications. The most usual complication during laparoscopic cholecystectomy is bile leakage, which remains a significant cause of morbidity. Early identification and management of these complications will minimize a potentially devastating outcome.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Bile Duct Diseases / epidemiology
  • Bile Duct Diseases / etiology
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic / adverse effects*
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic / statistics & numerical data
  • Cholelithiasis / surgery*
  • Female
  • Greece / epidemiology
  • Hospitals, District / statistics & numerical data
  • Hospitals, General / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Postoperative Complications / etiology
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risk Factors
  • Surgical Wound Infection / epidemiology
  • Surgical Wound Infection / etiology
  • Young Adult