Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC) has established itself firmly as the 'gold standard' for the treatment of gallstone disease, but it can, at times, be associated with significant morbidity and mortality. Existing literature has focused almost exclusively on the biliary complications of this procedure, but other complications such as significant haemorrhage can also be encountered, with an immediate mortality if not recognized and treated in a timely manner.
Materials and methods: Publications in English language literature that have reported the complication of bleeding during or after the performance of LC were identified and accessed. The results thus obtained were tabulated and analyzed to get a true picture of this complication, its mechanism and preventive measures.
Results: Bleeding has been reported to occur with an incidence of up to nearly 10% in various series, and can occur at any time during LC (during trocar insertion, dissection technique or slippage of clips/ ligatures) or in the postoperative period. It can range from minor haematomas to life-threatening injuries to major intra-abdominal vessels (such as aorta, vena cava and iliacs).
Conclusion: Good surgical technique, awareness and early recognition and management of such cases are keys to success when dealing with this problem.
Keywords: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy; bleeding; complications; morbidity; mortality.