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Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2006 Sep;391(5):467-71. Epub 2006 Aug 15.

Laparoscopic management of appendicitis and symptomatic cholelithiasis during pregnancy.

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  • 1Service de Chirurgie, CHUV, University of Lausanne, Lausanne 1011, Switzerland.



Laparoscopic surgery during pregnancy is a challenging procedure that most surgeons are reluctant to perform. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether laparoscopic appendectomy and cholecystectomy is safe in pregnant women. The management of these situations remains controversial. We report a single center study describing the successful management of 16 patients during pregnancy.


More than 3,356 laparoscopic procedures were performed in our institutions between May 1990 and June 2005. Sixteen of these patients were operated on in the second and third trimester between 22 and 32 weeks of estimated gestational age. We performed 11 laparoscopic appendectomies and 5 laparoscopic cholecystectomies. We also reviewed the management and operative technique used in these patients.


In this study, the laparoscopic appendectomy or cholecystectomy was performed successfully in all patients. Three patients were in their second trimester, weeks 22, 23, and 25, and 13 were in the third trimester, weeks 27 (three patients), 28 (five patients), 31 (three patients), and 32 (two patients). No maternal or fetal morbidity occurred. Open laparoscopy was performed safely in all patients and all patients delivered healthy babies.


From our experience laparoscopic management of appendicitis and biliary colic during pregnancy is safe, however the second trimester is preferable for laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Pregnancy is not a contraindication to the laparoscopic approach to appendicitis or symptomatic cholelithiasis. We believe that laparoscopic operations, when performed by experienced surgeons, are safe and even preferable for the mother and the fetus.

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