Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has several advantages over traditional cholecystectomy, which make it the treatment of choice for patients with uncomplicated biliary lithiasis. However, in patients with acute cholecystitis, the role of this technique remains controversial and some clinicians regard this condition as a contraindication to laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
Study design: Between June, 1991 and July, 1993, a total of 259 patients with cholelithiasis underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy at the "Virgen de la Arrixaca" University Hospital. Of these patients, 60 underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis.
Results: Conversion to laparotomy was necessary in eight patients (13 percent). Mean operating time was 83 minutes (range, 45 to 180 minutes). Overall mean hospital stay (laparoscopy and conversions) was 3.1 days (range, one to nine days). There was no mortality or injury to the common bile duct in our series.
Conclusions: We believe that laparoscopic cholecystectomy in patients with acute cholecystitis is a safe and effective procedure, in which the patient can benefit from the advantages of laparoscopic surgery without an increase in mortality and morbidity rates.