This review discusses anatomical facts that are of relevance to the performance of a safe cholecystectomy. Misinterpretation of normal anatomy and anatomical variations contribute to the occurrence of major postoperative complications like biliary injuries following a cholecystectomy, the incidence being higher with laparoscopic cholecystectomy. A look at the basic anatomy is therefore important for biliary and minimally invasive surgeons. This includes normal anatomy and variations of the biliary apparatus as well as the arterial supply to the gallbladder. Specific anatomical distortions due to the laparoscopic technique, their contribution in producing injury and a preventive strategy based on this understanding are discussed. Investigative modalities that may help in assessing anatomy are considered. Newer insights into the role of anatomic illusions as well as the role of a system-based approach to preventing injuries is also discussed.
Keywords: Anatomy; Biliary; Cholecystectomy; Gallbladder; Injury; Laparoscopy.