This report deals with the first 350 laparoscopic cholecystectomies performed at Creighton University, beginning in October 1989, by one of the authors (R.J.F., Jr.). An open technique was used for initial access to the abdominal cavity in 343 patients (98%). Patients included 274 females and 76 males, with an average age of 45.5 years. Weight ranged from 72 to 316 pounds (32-142.2 kg). The laparoscopic procedure was successfully completed in 338 (96.6%). Operative cholangiography was performed in 113 (32.3%), and 52 (14.7%) had acute cholecystitis as determined by the final pathological report. Median operating time was 80 min. There was no operative mortality. Bile duct injury was not seen. Postoperative complications occurred in 21 patients (6%), only two of which were directly related to the open technique (cellulitis of the umbilical wound requiring antibiotics). A third patient (0.3% of 343 successful laparoscopies) required reoperation on postoperative day 4 for a small bowel perforation; the exact cause could not be determined, but conceivably it was related to the umbilical minilaparotomy. We conclude that the open technique is safe and effective method for initial peritoneal access prior to laparoscopic cholecystectomy.
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