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Surg Endosc. 2001 Apr;15(4):398-401. Epub 2000 Dec 12.

Treatment of acute cholecystitis. A comparison of open vs laparoscopic cholecystectomy.

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Department of Surgery, County General Hospital, Osjeca bb, HR-34000 Pocega, Croatia.



In this study, the clinical results and cost-effectiveness of open vs laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the treatment of acute cholecystitis were compared.


Over a 5-year period (1994-98), 894 cholecystectomies were performed, 545 (60.96%) of them laparoscopically and 349 (39.04%) by the open method. The study included 209 patients with a clinical diagnosis of acute cholecystitis; 115 (55.02%) of them were operated on by the open method and 94 (44.98%) by the laparoscopic method.


A comparison analysis revealed that the mean postoperative treatment period was 8.40 days after open and 4.38 days after laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In the group operated on by the open method, 106 patients received an antibiotic, a mean of 5.09 ampules and 3.2 tablets or suppositories of an analgesic, and 2.91 dressings per patient; whereas in the group submitted to the laparoscopic method, the comparable figures were 43, 3.13, 2.1, and 1.47, respectively. In 31 (26.96%) employed patients operated on by the open method, the mean absenteeism from work was 42 days; whereas in 31 (32.98%) of those operated on by the laparoscopic method, it was 17 days. The mean operating times for the procedures were 89 and 115 min for the open and laparoscopic methods, respectively. Two patients submitted to open cholecystectomy died within 30 days postoperatively. Wound infection was recorded in 10 (8.7%), prolonged biliary secretion in two, and cicatricial hernia in five (4.35%) patients. In the group submitted to laparoscopic cholecystectomy, there were no deaths; nine (9.57%) conversions were required; four patients had to be reoperated on, two of them for bile lobe hemorrhage and two for massive biliary secretion from the open cystic duct; herniation at the site of supraumbilical incision developed in three patients, and infection developed at the same site in two (2.13%) patients. The hospital cost was significantly higher in laparoscopic patients ($1181 vs $873) USD), as was the total cost of treatment for acute cholecystitis ($1430 vs $1316). However, the cost for sick leave and rehabilitation was significantly lower in laparoscopically treated patients ($486 vs $1199).


Our comparison analysis of the results and cost-effectiveness of the surgical treatment of acute cholecystitis clearly pointed to the advantages of laparoscopic over open cholecystectomy-i.e., better clinical outcome and a more rapid resumption of daily activities. Hospital and total costs of treatment were on average higher in laparoscopic patients, except for the employed ones, where the lower sick leave cost translated into a significant reduction in total costs.

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