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JSLS. 2007 Jul-Sep;11(3):358-62.

Three-port versus standard four-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy: a randomized controlled clinical trial in a community-based teaching hospital in eastern Nepal.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, B P Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal.



With increasing surgeon experience, laparoscopic cholecystectomy has undergone many refinements including reduction in port number and size. Three-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy has been reported to be safe and feasible in various clinical trials. However, whether it offers any additional advantages remains controversial. This study reports a randomized trial that compared the clinical outcomes of 3-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy versus conventional 4-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy.


Seventy-five consecutive patients who underwent elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy were randomized to undergo either the 3-port or the 4-port technique. Four surgical tapes were applied to standard 4-port sites in both groups at the end of the operation. All dressings were kept intact until the first follow-up 1 week after surgery. Postoperative pain at the 4 sites was assessed on the first day after surgery by using a 10-cm unscaled visual analog scale (VAS). Other outcome measures included analgesia requirements, length of the operation, postoperative stay, and patient satisfaction score on surgery and scars.


Demographic data were comparable for both groups. Patients in the 3-port group had shorter mean operative time (47.3+/-29.8 min vs 60.8+/-32.3 min) for the 4-port group (P=0.04) and less pain at port sites (mean score using 10-cm unscaled VAS: 2.19+/-1.06 vs 2.91+/-1.20 (P=0.02). Overall pain score, analgesia requirements, hospital stay, and patient satisfaction score (mean score using 10-cm unscaled VAS: 8.2+/-1.7 vs 7.8+/-1.7, P=0.24) on surgery and scars were similar between the 2 groups.


Three-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy resulted in less individual port-site pain and similar clinical outcomes with fewer surgical scars and without any increased risk of bile duct injury compared with 4-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Thus, it can be recommended as a safe alternative procedure in elective laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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