What are the benefits of laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

Updated: Apr 16, 2020
  • Author: Danny A Sherwinter, MD; Chief Editor: Kurt E Roberts, MD  more...
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Laparoscopic cholecystectomy decreases postoperative pain, decreases the need for postoperative analgesia, shortens the hospital stay from 1 week to less than 24 hours, and returns the patient to full activity within 1 week (compared with 1 month after open cholecystectomy). [3, 4] Laparoscopic cholecystectomy also provides improved cosmesis and improved patient satisfaction as compared with open cholecystectomy.

Although direct operating room and recovery room costs are higher for laparoscopic cholecystectomy, the shortened length of hospital stay leads to a net savings. More rapid return to normal activity may lead to indirect cost savings. [5] Not all such studies have demonstrated a cost savings, however. In fact, with the higher rate of cholecystectomy in the laparoscopic era, the costs in the United States of treating gallstone disease may actually have increased.

Trials have shown that laparoscopic cholecystectomy patients in outpatient settings and those in inpatient settings recover equally well, indicating that a greater proportion of patients should be offered the outpatient modality. [6]

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy has received nearly universal acceptance and is currently considered the criterion standard for the treatment of symptomatic cholelithiasis. [7, 6] Many centers have special “short-stay” units or “23-hour admissions” for postoperative observation following this procedure. [6]

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