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Surg Endosc. 2010 Dec;24(12):2954-7. doi: 10.1007/s00464-010-1070-6. Epub 2010 Apr 17.

Single-port cholecystectomy: small scar, short learning curve.

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Section of Gastrointestinal Surgery, Department of Surgery, Yale University School of Medicine, 40 Temple Street, Suite 7B, New Haven, CT 06510, USA.



This past year has borne witness to the acceptance of single-port laparoscopic surgery into mainstream clinical practice. This study describes a surgeon's experience with single-port laparoscopic cholecystectomy and delineates a learning curve for this technically demanding procedure utilizing improvements in operative time as a proxy for technical facility.


Through a 2-cm vertical transumbilical incision, three 5-mm ports or SILS™ Ports were placed using the Veress technique. One extracorporeal stay suture was utilized to provide cephalad retraction of the gallbladder fundus, and a roticulating instrument was used at the infundibulum for lateral retraction. The hilum was dissected and the cystic duct and artery were clipped and divided. One 5-mm port was removed and another upgraded to one 10-mm port to allow the introduction of a retrieval bag to facilitate the removal of the gallbladder from the abdomen. Patient demographic data, operative time, length of stay, surgical pathology, and complications were recorded.


Fifty-two of 54 patients successfully underwent single-port cholecystectomies. Two patients required conversion to either a conventional laparoscopic cholecystectomy or open cholecystectomy. The average age was 41 years and average BMI was 30.2 kg/m(2). Mean operative time was 80 min. Length of stay was 0.3 days. The complication rate was 3/54 (5.5%). When patients were divided into sequential quintiles (n = 10), operative times decreased significantly after the first 10 patients (p = 0.0001) and then remained flat (p = 0.233). Operative times for obese patients (BMI >30) were greater than those for nonobese patients, but these results failed to reach statistical significance (85.3 vs. 69.7 min, p = 0.07).


The significant improvement in operative times after the first quintile followed by consistent results without subsequent variability suggests that the learning curve for the single-port cholecystectomy, in the hands of a fellowship-trained laparoscopic surgeon, is approximately ten cases.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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