Preoperative predictors of a difficult laparoscopic cholecystectomy

Shrirang V. Kulkarni, Sukumar S. Kumar


Background: Laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC), the gold standard of treatment of gallstone disease, is a widely performed surgery, but it can become a challenge to complete at times. Aim of present study was to find out the possible preoperative features in a gallstone disease patient that predispose him to having a difficult LC.

Methods: All cases of gallstone disease undergoing LC at a tertiary care hospital were studied over one year. Patients with jaundice, abnormal liver function tests, concomitant common bile duct stones, ongoing acute cholecystitis or concurrent gallstone pancreatitis were excluded. Various preoperative clinical, laboratory and ultrasound parameters were studied to see their correlation with different aspects of difficult LC.

Results: 166 patients were studied with age ranging from 10-80 years, maximum incidence (36.14%) being in the age group 35-50 years. The time taken for LC increased significantly with increasing age. 70.48% were females but gender status did not affect the difficulty. Pain in the preceding 15 days of surgery increased the operating time as did the association of diabetes mellitus. Increasing body mass index (BMI) also increased the surgery time as well as the conversion rate (7.69% in patients with BMI >30Kg/m2). Clinically palpable gallbladder increased the surgery duration, difficulty and conversion rate. TLC >11000/mm3, contracted gallbladder, wall thickness ≥4mm made LC longer, while multiple stones increased surgeon’s difficulty and impacted stone in gallbladder neck increased the conversion rate.

Conclusions: Certain factors that increase the difficulty of LC can be identified preoperatively and this knowledge should be used when planning LC.



Acute cholecystitis, Body mass index, Gallstones, Risk factors, Ultrasonography

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