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Int J Surg Case Rep. 2014;5(12):1218-21. doi: 10.1016/j.ijscr.2014.11.018. Epub 2014 Nov 12.

A 'critical view' on a classical pitfall in laparoscopic cholecystectomy!

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Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Charité, Berlin, Germany. Electronic address:
Department of Visceral-, Transplant-, and Thoracic Surgery, Innsbruck Medical University, Innsbruck, Austria.
Department of General, Visceral and Transplant Surgery, Charité, Berlin, Germany.



Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the most common laparoscopic surgery performed by general surgeons. Although being a routine procedure, classical pitfalls shall be regarded, as misperception of intraoperative anatomy is one of the leading causes of bile duct injuries. The "critical view of safety" in laparoscopic cholecystectomy serves the unequivocal identification of the cystic duct before transection. The aim of this manuscript is to discuss classical pitfalls and bile duct injury avoiding strategies in laparoscopic cholecystectomy, by presenting an interesting case report.


A 71-year-old patient, who previously suffered from a biliary pancreatitis underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy after ERCP with stone extraction. The intraoperative situs showed a shrunken gallbladder. After placement of four trocars, the gall bladder was grasped in the usual way at the fundus and pulled in the right upper abdomen. Following the dissection of the triangle of Calot, a "critical view of safety" was established. As dissection continued, it however soon became clear that instead of the cystic duct, the common bile duct had been dissected. In order to create an overview, the gallbladder was thereafter mobilized fundus first and further preparation resumed carefully to expose the cystic duct and the common bile duct. Consecutively the operation could be completed in the usual way.


Despite permanent increase in learning curves and new approaches in laparoscopic techniques, bile duct injuries still remain twice as frequent as in the conventional open approach. In the case presented, transection of the common bile duct was prevented through critical examination of the present anatomy. The "critical view of safety" certainly offers not a full protection to avoid biliary lesions, but may lead to a significant risk minimization when consistently implemented.


A sufficient mobilization of the gallbladder from its bed is essential in performing a critical view in laparoscopic cholecystectomy.


Bile duct injury; Critical view of safety; Laparoscopic cholecystectomy; Misperception

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