Single incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy is associated with a higher bile duct injury rate: a review and a word of caution

Ann Surg. 2012 Jul;256(1):1-6. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3182583fde.


Objective: To compare the incidence of bile duct injuries during single incision laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SILC) in relation to the accepted historic rate of 0.4% to 0.5% for standard laparoscopic cholecystectomy (SLC).

Background: Technically, SILC is more challenging than SLC. The role and benefit of SILC in patient care has yet to be defined. Bile duct injuries have been reported in several series of SILC.

Method: A comprehensive database search of MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, and PubMed Central was performed to generate all reported cases of SILC to present. The search was limited to reports of 20 or more patients based on current literature of existing SILC learning curves. Data were analyzed using the Student t test and χ analyses where appropriate.

Results: A total of 76 candidate studies were identified; 45 studies met inclusion criteria for an aggregate total of 2626 patients. Most SILCs were performed in the absence of acute cholecystitis (90.6%). The aggregate complication rate was 4.2%, and complications were graded according to the Dindo-Clavien Classification System. Nineteen bile duct injuries were identified for a SILC-associated bile duct injury rate of 0.72%.

Conclusions: There seems to be an increase in the rate of bile duct injuries during SILC when compared with historic rates during SLC. Because most SILCs are performed in optimal conditions, such as lack of acute inflammation, we urge caution in applying this technique to inflamed gallbladder pathology. Controlled trials are needed before conclusions are made regarding safety of SILC.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Bile Ducts / injuries*
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic / adverse effects*
  • Cholecystectomy, Laparoscopic / methods*
  • Cholecystitis, Acute / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Intraoperative Complications / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged