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Am J Surg. 1999 Jan;177(1):48-54.

Minimal modulation of lymphocyte and natural killer cell subsets following minimal access surgery.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of Aberdeen, Foresterhill, Scotland.



Trauma, whether accidental or surgically induced, is known to cause significant modulation of the cell-mediated immune response. Minimal access surgery (MAS) has been shown to improve postoperative recovery and enhance rehabilitation. The degree of immunosuppression resulting from two MAS techniques was studied and compared by measuring the circulating T lymphocyte and natural killer (NK) cell subsets.


This investigation was a randomized prospective study of patients admitted to the Professorial Surgical Unit, Aberdeen Royal Infirmary for elective cholecystectomy. Two methods of MAS were studied-laparoscopy and minilaparotomy.


Laparoscopy was found to cause significantly less reduction in the number of cells expressing T lymphocyte phenotypic surface markers (CD2, CD3, CD8, CD4:CD8 ratio), activation markers (CD71 and HLA-DR), and NK cell subsets (CD11b, CD16, CD56 and CD57), when compared with the minilaparotomy technique.


These data show that host defences are less suppressed after laparoscopic cholecystectomy, and this may have important implications for the use of laparoscopic techniques in major surgical resections, especially for malignant disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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