Cholecystectomy

Cholecystectomy is a surgical procedure performed with the goal of resecting and extracting the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy. It is one of the most common abdominal surgeries performed in the Western world. Cholecystectomy is performed for symptomatic cholelithiasis Cholelithiasis Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis, cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis, gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy polyps > 0.5 cm, porcelain gallbladder Porcelain Gallbladder Cholelithiasis, choledocholithiasis Choledocholithiasis Presence or formation of gallstones in the common bile duct. Cholelithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis Pancreatitis Inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is classified as acute unless there are computed tomographic or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographic findings of chronic pancreatitis. The two most common forms of acute pancreatitis are alcoholic pancreatitis and gallstone pancreatitis. Acute Pancreatitis, and rarely, for gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy cancer. Over 90% of cholecystectomies are now completed laparoscopically because of the procedure’s enhanced recovery time and decreased postoperative pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways. Cholecystectomy has a low-risk profile, but the most dreaded complications include vascular and biliary ductal injuries.

Last updated: Jun 27, 2022

Editorial responsibility: Stanley Oiseth, Lindsay Jones, Evelin Maza

Definition and Surgical Anatomy

Definition

Cholecystectomy is the surgical removal of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy, which can be performed using either an open or a laparoscopic method.

Anatomy

Gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy:

  • Bile-filled sac located in a fossa on the inferior aspect of the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy beneath the junction of hepatic segments Ⅳb and Ⅴ
  • 7–10 cm in length, average capacity 30–50 mL
  • Anatomic divisions:
    • Fundus Fundus The superior portion of the body of the stomach above the level of the cardiac notch. Stomach: Anatomy (most superior aspect)
    • Corpus (body)
    • Infundibulum Infundibulum Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy (round, blind end extending below the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy margin)
    • Neck Neck The part of a human or animal body connecting the head to the rest of the body. Peritonsillar Abscess (connects with cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis)
  • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis connects the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy to the biliary tree Biliary tree The bile ducts and the gallbladder. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy and contains the spiral Spiral Computed tomography where there is continuous x-ray exposure to the patient while being transported in a spiral or helical pattern through the beam of irradiation. This provides improved three-dimensional contrast and spatial resolution compared to conventional computed tomography, where data is obtained and computed from individual sequential exposures. Computed Tomography (CT) valves of Heister.
  • Blood supply: cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change artery, usually a branch of the right hepatic artery Hepatic artery A branch of the celiac artery that distributes to the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, liver, gallbladder, and greater omentum. Liver: Anatomy (90% of cases)
  • Gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy wall layers:
    • Mucosa, composed of columnar cells with microvilli
    • Lamina propria Lamina propria Whipple’s Disease
    • Muscular layer (not arranged in distinct layers)
    • Serosa
    • Lacking muscularis mucosae
    • Rokitansky–Aschoff sinuses: invaginations of mucosae extending through the muscular layer

Biliary tree Biliary tree The bile ducts and the gallbladder. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy:

  • The right and left hepatic ducts join to form the common hepatic duct.
  • The cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis joins the common hepatic duct to form the common bile duct common bile duct The largest bile duct. It is formed by the junction of the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy.
  • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis length is highly variable Variable Variables represent information about something that can change. The design of the measurement scales, or of the methods for obtaining information, will determine the data gathered and the characteristics of that data. As a result, a variable can be qualitative or quantitative, and may be further classified into subgroups. Types of Variables.

Calot’s (hepatobiliary) triangle:

  • Borders:
    • Medial: the common hepatic duct
    • Lateral: the cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis
    • Superior: inferior edge of the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy (or the cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change artery in the original definition of Calot’s triangle)
  • Contents:

Anatomic variants

  • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis:
    • Low junction between cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis and common hepatic duct 
    • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis adherent to common hepatic duct
    • High junction between cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change and common hepatic ducts
    • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis drains into right hepatic duct.
    • Long cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis that joins the common hepatic duct behind the duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy 
    • Absence of a cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis
    • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis crosses posteriorly to common hepatic duct and joins it anteriorly.
    • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis crosses anteriorly to common hepatic duct and joins it posteriorly.
  • Cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change artery:
    • From right hepatic artery Hepatic artery A branch of the celiac artery that distributes to the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, liver, gallbladder, and greater omentum. Liver: Anatomy (most common)
    • From the right hepatic artery Hepatic artery A branch of the celiac artery that distributes to the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, liver, gallbladder, and greater omentum. Liver: Anatomy arising from the superior mesenteric artery Superior mesenteric artery A large vessel supplying the whole length of the small intestine except the superior part of the duodenum. It also supplies the cecum and the ascending part of the colon and about half the transverse part of the colon. It arises from the anterior surface of the aorta below the celiac artery at the level of the first lumbar vertebra. Small Intestine: Anatomy
    • 2 cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology: from the right hepatic and common hepatic artery Hepatic artery A branch of the celiac artery that distributes to the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, liver, gallbladder, and greater omentum. Liver: Anatomy
    • 2 cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology: from the right and left hepatic arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology
    • From the right hepatic artery Hepatic artery A branch of the celiac artery that distributes to the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, liver, gallbladder, and greater omentum. Liver: Anatomy and running anterior to the common hepatic duct
    • 2 cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change arteries Arteries Arteries are tubular collections of cells that transport oxygenated blood and nutrients from the heart to the tissues of the body. The blood passes through the arteries in order of decreasing luminal diameter, starting in the largest artery (the aorta) and ending in the small arterioles. Arteries are classified into 3 types: large elastic arteries, medium muscular arteries, and small arteries and arterioles. Arteries: Histology from the right hepatic artery Hepatic artery A branch of the celiac artery that distributes to the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, liver, gallbladder, and greater omentum. Liver: Anatomy

Indications and Contraindications

Indications

  • Symptomatic cholelithiasis Cholelithiasis Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis without cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis:
    • Gallstones Gallstones Cholelithiasis (gallstones) is the presence of stones in the gallbladder. Most gallstones are cholesterol stones, while the rest are composed of bilirubin (pigment stones) and other mixed components. Patients are commonly asymptomatic but may present with biliary colic (intermittent pain in the right upper quadrant). Cholelithiasis within the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy
    • Stones are predominantly made up of cholesterol Cholesterol The principal sterol of all higher animals, distributed in body tissues, especially the brain and spinal cord, and in animal fats and oils. Cholesterol Metabolism and, sometimes, bilirubin Bilirubin A bile pigment that is a degradation product of heme. Heme Metabolism.
  • Cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis (acute and chronic): inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy caused by cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis obstruction (most often by stones)
  • Biliary dyskinesia: physiologic dysfunction of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy characterized by abnormal emptying of bile Bile An emulsifying agent produced in the liver and secreted into the duodenum. Its composition includes bile acids and salts; cholesterol; and electrolytes. It aids digestion of fats in the duodenum. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy
  • Choledocholithiasis Choledocholithiasis Presence or formation of gallstones in the common bile duct. Cholelithiasis and gallstone pancreatitis Pancreatitis Inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatitis is classified as acute unless there are computed tomographic or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatographic findings of chronic pancreatitis. The two most common forms of acute pancreatitis are alcoholic pancreatitis and gallstone pancreatitis. Acute Pancreatitis
  • Gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy polyps > 0.5 cm
  • Porcelain gallbladder Porcelain Gallbladder Cholelithiasis (calcification of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy)
  • Gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy cancer: radical cholecystectomy; includes lymphadenectomy and resection of the adjacent liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy parenchyma
  • Emergent indications:
    • Gangrenous gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy
    • Emphysematous gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy
    • Gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis

Contraindications Contraindications A condition or factor associated with a recipient that makes the use of a drug, procedure, or physical agent improper or inadvisable. Contraindications may be absolute (life threatening) or relative (higher risk of complications in which benefits may outweigh risks). Noninvasive Ventilation

  • Absolute: uncontrolled coagulopathy
  • Relative:
    • Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction. The condition usually presents in middle-aged or elderly persons with a history of cigarette smoking. Signs and symptoms include prolonged expiration, wheezing, diminished breath sounds, progressive dyspnea, and chronic cough. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) ( COPD COPD Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung disease characterized by progressive, largely irreversible airflow obstruction. The condition usually presents in middle-aged or elderly persons with a history of cigarette smoking. Signs and symptoms include prolonged expiration, wheezing, diminished breath sounds, progressive dyspnea, and chronic cough. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD))
    • Severe cardiac disease:
      • Congestive heart failure Congestive heart failure Congestive heart failure refers to the inability of the heart to supply the body with normal cardiac output to meet metabolic needs. Echocardiography can confirm the diagnosis and give information about the ejection fraction. Congestive Heart Failure
      • Recent myocardial infarction Myocardial infarction MI is ischemia and death of an area of myocardial tissue due to insufficient blood flow and oxygenation, usually from thrombus formation on a ruptured atherosclerotic plaque in the epicardial arteries. Clinical presentation is most commonly with chest pain, but women and patients with diabetes may have atypical symptoms. Myocardial Infarction (within 6 months)
      • Severe aortic stenosis Aortic stenosis Aortic stenosis (AS), or the narrowing of the aortic valve aperture, is the most common valvular heart disease. Aortic stenosis gradually progresses to heart failure, producing exertional dyspnea, angina, and/or syncope. A crescendo-decrescendo systolic murmur is audible in the right upper sternal border. Aortic Stenosis
    • Cirrhosis Cirrhosis Cirrhosis is a late stage of hepatic parenchymal necrosis and scarring (fibrosis) most commonly due to hepatitis C infection and alcoholic liver disease. Patients may present with jaundice, ascites, and hepatosplenomegaly. Cirrhosis can also cause complications such as hepatic encephalopathy, portal hypertension, portal vein thrombosis, and hepatorenal syndrome. Cirrhosis
    • Portal hypertension Hypertension Hypertension, or high blood pressure, is a common disease that manifests as elevated systemic arterial pressures. Hypertension is most often asymptomatic and is found incidentally as part of a routine physical examination or during triage for an unrelated medical encounter. Hypertension
    • Sepsis Sepsis Systemic inflammatory response syndrome with a proven or suspected infectious etiology. When sepsis is associated with organ dysfunction distant from the site of infection, it is called severe sepsis. When sepsis is accompanied by hypotension despite adequate fluid infusion, it is called septic shock. Sepsis and Septic Shock/hemodynamic instability: If there are no strict indications for emergent cholecystectomy (e.g., perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis, emphysema Emphysema Enlargement of air spaces distal to the terminal bronchioles where gas-exchange normally takes place. This is usually due to destruction of the alveolar wall. Pulmonary emphysema can be classified by the location and distribution of the lesions. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)), alternative approaches can be tolerated better.
  • Alternative approaches to cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis when surgery is contraindicated:
    • Acute cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis can initially be managed with antibiotics while the patient is stabilized and coagulopathy corrected.
    • If a patient remains a poor surgical candidate, a percutaneous drain can be placed into the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy to provide source control Source Control Surgical Infections.
    • The drain will remain in place for 6–8 weeks, after which time the patient is reevaluated for cholecystectomy.

Procedure

The goal of surgical treatment is to remove the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy and the stones it contains, while ensuring that no stones remain within the ductal system. The goals are the same for both the laparoscopic and the open approach.

Preoperative preparation

  • Initial supportive management:
    • Nothing by mouth
    • Pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways control and nausea Nausea An unpleasant sensation in the stomach usually accompanied by the urge to vomit. Common causes are early pregnancy, sea and motion sickness, emotional stress, intense pain, food poisoning, and various enteroviruses. Antiemetics treatment
    • Fluid resuscitation Resuscitation The restoration to life or consciousness of one apparently dead. . Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome with electrolyte correction
  • Preoperative antibiotics:
    • In acute cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis, antibiotics should be administered as part of treatment:
      • Gram-positive Gram-Positive Penicillins and gram-negative coverage
      • Cefazolin Cefazolin A semisynthetic cephalosporin analog with broad-spectrum antibiotic action due to inhibition of bacterial cell wall synthesis. It attains high serum levels and is excreted quickly via the urine. Cephalosporins metronidazole Metronidazole A nitroimidazole used to treat amebiasis; vaginitis; trichomonas infections; giardiasis; anaerobic bacteria; and treponemal infections. Pyogenic Liver Abscess or ciprofloxacin Ciprofloxacin A broad-spectrum antimicrobial carboxyfluoroquinoline. Fluoroquinolones metronidazole Metronidazole A nitroimidazole used to treat amebiasis; vaginitis; trichomonas infections; giardiasis; anaerobic bacteria; and treponemal infections. Pyogenic Liver Abscess
    • For other indications for cholecystectomy: Prophylactic antibiotics with the same coverage must be administered 30–60 minutes before incision.
  • Anesthesia Anesthesia A state characterized by loss of feeling or sensation. This depression of nerve function is usually the result of pharmacologic action and is induced to allow performance of surgery or other painful procedures. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts:
    • General anesthesia Anesthesia A state characterized by loss of feeling or sensation. This depression of nerve function is usually the result of pharmacologic action and is induced to allow performance of surgery or other painful procedures. Anesthesiology: History and Basic Concepts is administered for both laparoscopic and open approaches.
    • An orogastric or nasogastric tube Nasogastric tube Malnutrition in children in resource-limited countries should be placed to decompress the stomach Stomach The stomach is a muscular sac in the upper left portion of the abdomen that plays a critical role in digestion. The stomach develops from the foregut and connects the esophagus with the duodenum. Structurally, the stomach is C-shaped and forms a greater and lesser curvature and is divided grossly into regions: the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus. Stomach: Anatomy.
  • Foley catheter:
    • Optional
    • A Foley catheter should be placed if technical difficulties are anticipated (e.g., prior abdominal operations, underlying liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy disease) because the procedure may last > 4 hours.

Procedure

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is considered the gold standard, as it results in decreased postoperative pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways, a shorter hospital stay, and an earlier return to work. Over 90% of cholecystectomies are performed laparoscopically. Conversion to an open approach is mandatory if anatomy is not clear.

Laparoscopic cholecystectomy:

  1. A port incision is made at the umbilicus and a trocar is inserted.
  2. Pneumoperitoneum Pneumoperitoneum A condition with trapped gas or air in the peritoneal cavity, usually secondary to perforation of the internal organs such as the lung and the gastrointestinal tract, or to recent surgery. Pneumoperitoneum may be purposely introduced to aid radiological examination. Perforated Viscus is achieved by insufflating the abdomen with CO2.
  3. The laparoscope Laparoscope Endoscopes for examining the abdominal and pelvic organs in the peritoneal cavity. Laparotomy and Laparoscopy is inserted through the umbilical port.
  4. The remaining ports are inserted under direct visualization with the laparoscope Laparoscope Endoscopes for examining the abdominal and pelvic organs in the peritoneal cavity. Laparotomy and Laparoscopy:
  5. The patient is placed in a reverse Trendelenburg position.
  6. The gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy fundus Fundus The superior portion of the body of the stomach above the level of the cardiac notch. Stomach: Anatomy is retracted cephalad over the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy with a grasper for visualization.
  7. A second grasper is used to retract the infundibulum Infundibulum Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy laterally and expose Calot’s triangle.
  8. Dissection is performed around the infundibulum Infundibulum Uterus, Cervix, and Fallopian Tubes: Anatomy to delineate Calot’s triangle.
  9. The critical view of safety needs to be established:
    • Calot’s triangle is cleared of fibrous Fibrous Fibrocystic Change and fatty tissue.
    • The lower ⅓ of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy is mobilized from the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy bed.
    • Only 2 structures should be seen entering the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy: cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis and artery
    • Cholangiography could be performed at this point, if there are doubts regarding ductal anatomy.
  10. The cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis and artery are divided between clips.
  11. The gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy is dissected off the inferior aspect of the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy using electrocautery Electrocautery Surgical Instruments and Sutures.
  12. The gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy is placed in a specimen bag and extracted through the umbilical port.
  13. The CO2 is let out the peritoneal cavity Peritoneal Cavity The space enclosed by the peritoneum. It is divided into two portions, the greater sac and the lesser sac or omental bursa, which lies behind the stomach. The two sacs are connected by the foramen of winslow, or epiploic foramen. Peritoneum: Anatomy and the trocars are removed.
  14. The incisions are closed.

Open cholecystectomy:

  1. A right subcostal incision, 2 fingerbreadths below the costal margin (Kocher incision) is made and the surgeon advances through the layers of the abdominal wall Abdominal wall The outer margins of the abdomen, extending from the osteocartilaginous thoracic cage to the pelvis. Though its major part is muscular, the abdominal wall consists of at least seven layers: the skin, subcutaneous fat, deep fascia; abdominal muscles, transversalis fascia, extraperitoneal fat, and the parietal peritoneum. Surgical Anatomy of the Abdomen until the peritoneal cavity Peritoneal Cavity The space enclosed by the peritoneum. It is divided into two portions, the greater sac and the lesser sac or omental bursa, which lies behind the stomach. The two sacs are connected by the foramen of winslow, or epiploic foramen. Peritoneum: Anatomy is reached. 
  2. The gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy is placed in the center of the operative field; retraction and exposure are key:
    • The liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy and costal margin are retracted superiorly.
    • The small bowel Small bowel The small intestine is the longest part of the GI tract, extending from the pyloric orifice of the stomach to the ileocecal junction. The small intestine is the major organ responsible for chemical digestion and absorption of nutrients. It is divided into 3 segments: the duodenum, the jejunum, and the ileum. Small Intestine: Anatomy, colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy, and duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy are carefully retracted inferiorly.
  3. The gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy is dissected from the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy bed, usually with cautery:
    • Anterograde: from the cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis toward the fundus Fundus The superior portion of the body of the stomach above the level of the cardiac notch. Stomach: Anatomy
    • Retrograde: from the fundus Fundus The superior portion of the body of the stomach above the level of the cardiac notch. Stomach: Anatomy toward the cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis
  4. The cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis and artery are ligated using ties or clips and then transected.
  5. The gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy is removed, and hemostasis Hemostasis Hemostasis refers to the innate, stepwise body processes that occur following vessel injury, resulting in clot formation and cessation of bleeding. Hemostasis occurs in 2 phases, namely, primary and secondary. Primary hemostasis involves forming a plug that stops the bleeding temporarily. Secondary hemostasis involves the activation of the coagulation cascade. Hemostasis of the gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy is achieved with electrocautery Electrocautery Surgical Instruments and Sutures.
  6. The abdominal wall Abdominal wall The outer margins of the abdomen, extending from the osteocartilaginous thoracic cage to the pelvis. Though its major part is muscular, the abdominal wall consists of at least seven layers: the skin, subcutaneous fat, deep fascia; abdominal muscles, transversalis fascia, extraperitoneal fat, and the parietal peritoneum. Surgical Anatomy of the Abdomen is closed in layers.

Postoperative care Postoperative care After any procedure performed in the operating room, all patients must undergo close observation at least in the recovery room. After larger procedures and for patients who require hospitalization, observation must continue on the surgical ward. The primary intent of this practice is the early detection of postoperative complications. Postoperative Care

  • Diet:
    • Oral fluids after 4 hours
    • Quick transition to semisolid and solid food
  • Early ambulation
  • Incentive spirometry Spirometry Measurement of volume of air inhaled or exhaled by the lung. Pulmonary Function Tests
  • After laparoscopic cholecystectomy, up to 80% of patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship can be discharged within 24 hours.
  • After open cholecystectomy, patients Patients Individuals participating in the health care system for the purpose of receiving therapeutic, diagnostic, or preventive procedures. Clinician–Patient Relationship typically remain in the hospital for 2–3 days for pain Pain An unpleasant sensation induced by noxious stimuli which are detected by nerve endings of nociceptive neurons. Pain: Types and Pathways control, or longer if their condition warrants.

Complications

Cholecystectomy has a low-risk profile; however, like any other surgical procedure, it has inherent risks and complications. 

  • Injury to the common bile duct common bile duct The largest bile duct. It is formed by the junction of the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy (greater risk with laparoscopic approach):
    • If encountered intraoperatively:
      • Conversion to open cholecystectomy and immediate repair if a surgeon is skilled at these procedures
      • Otherwise, placement of a drain and immediate transfer to a higher-level facility with a hepatobiliary surgical service
    • If discovered postoperatively:
      • Significant injuries to the common bile duct common bile duct The largest bile duct. It is formed by the junction of the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy will require operative repair.
      • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography Fiberoptic endoscopy designed for duodenal observation and cannulation of Vater’s ampulla, in order to visualize the pancreatic and biliary duct system by retrograde injection of contrast media. Endoscopic (Vater) papillotomy may be performed during this procedure. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis ( ERCP ERCP Fiberoptic endoscopy designed for duodenal observation and cannulation of vater’s ampulla, in order to visualize the pancreatic and biliary duct system by retrograde injection of contrast media. Endoscopic (vater) papillotomy may be performed during this procedure. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis) for possible stenting of injured duct may be an option in some cases.
      • Percutaneous drainage Percutaneous Drainage Echinococcus/Echinococcosis for biloma ( bile Bile An emulsifying agent produced in the liver and secreted into the duodenum. Its composition includes bile acids and salts; cholesterol; and electrolytes. It aids digestion of fats in the duodenum. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy collection) if present
  • Cystic duct Cystic duct The duct that is connected to the gallbladder and allows the emptying of bile into the common bile duct. Cholecystitis stump leak: 
    • More common when acute cholecystitis Cholecystitis Cholecystitis is the inflammation of the gallbladder (GB) usually caused by the obstruction of the cystic duct (acute cholecystitis). Mechanical irritation by gallstones can also produce chronic GB inflammation. Cholecystitis is one of the most common complications of cholelithiasis but inflammation without gallstones can occur in a minority of patients. Cholecystitis/severe inflammation Inflammation Inflammation is a complex set of responses to infection and injury involving leukocytes as the principal cellular mediators in the body’s defense against pathogenic organisms. Inflammation is also seen as a response to tissue injury in the process of wound healing. The 5 cardinal signs of inflammation are pain, heat, redness, swelling, and loss of function. Inflammation is present
    • Most can be treated with ERCP ERCP Fiberoptic endoscopy designed for duodenal observation and cannulation of vater’s ampulla, in order to visualize the pancreatic and biliary duct system by retrograde injection of contrast media. Endoscopic (vater) papillotomy may be performed during this procedure. Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis and stent and drainage of biloma.
  • Injury to the liver Liver The liver is the largest gland in the human body. The liver is found in the superior right quadrant of the abdomen and weighs approximately 1.5 kilograms. Its main functions are detoxification, metabolism, nutrient storage (e.g., iron and vitamins), synthesis of coagulation factors, formation of bile, filtration, and storage of blood. Liver: Anatomy, duodenum Duodenum The shortest and widest portion of the small intestine adjacent to the pylorus of the stomach. It is named for having the length equal to about the width of 12 fingers. Small Intestine: Anatomy, or colon Colon The large intestines constitute the last portion of the digestive system. The large intestine consists of the cecum, appendix, colon (with ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid segments), rectum, and anal canal. The primary function of the colon is to remove water and compact the stool prior to expulsion from the body via the rectum and anal canal. Colon, Cecum, and Appendix: Anatomy
  • Bleeding:
    • Due to vascular injury (right hepatic artery Hepatic artery A branch of the celiac artery that distributes to the stomach, pancreas, duodenum, liver, gallbladder, and greater omentum. Liver: Anatomy)
    • Due to clip coming off the cystic Cystic Fibrocystic Change artery stump (classic manifestation is hypotension Hypotension Hypotension is defined as low blood pressure, specifically < 90/60 mm Hg, and is most commonly a physiologic response. Hypotension may be mild, serious, or life threatening, depending on the cause. Hypotension in the recovery room Recovery room Hospital unit providing continuous monitoring of the patient following anesthesia. Postoperative Care)
  • Diaphragmatic injury Diaphragmatic Injury Thoracic Trauma in Children 
  • Gallbladder Gallbladder The gallbladder is a pear-shaped sac, located directly beneath the liver, that sits on top of the superior part of the duodenum. The primary functions of the gallbladder include concentrating and storing up to 50 mL of bile. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy perforation Perforation A pathological hole in an organ, blood vessel or other soft part of the body, occurring in the absence of external force. Esophagitis and spillage of bile Bile An emulsifying agent produced in the liver and secreted into the duodenum. Its composition includes bile acids and salts; cholesterol; and electrolytes. It aids digestion of fats in the duodenum. Gallbladder and Biliary Tract: Anatomy and stones: increases the risk of postoperative abdominal abscess Abscess Accumulation of purulent material in tissues, organs, or circumscribed spaces, usually associated with signs of infection. Chronic Granulomatous Disease

References

  1. Connor, S. (2018). The liver and biliary tract. In Garden, O. James et al. (Eds.), Schwartz’s Principles of Surgery, 10th ed., pp. 1309–1330.
  2. Soper, N. J., Preeti M. (2020). Laparoscopic cholecystectomy. In Chen, W. (Ed.), Uptodate. Retrieved April 3, 2021, from https://www.uptodate.com/contents/laparoscopic-cholecystectomy                      
  3. Rossidis, G. (2015). In Mulholland, M. W., Albo, D., Dalman R. L., Hawn, M. T., Hughes, S. J., Sabel, M. S. (Eds.), Operative Techniques in Surgery, 10th ed., vol. 2, part 3, section 1, pp. 475–484.
  4. Montgomery, S. P., Rich, P. B. (2015). In Mulholland, M. W., Albo, D., Dalman R. L., Hawn, M. T., Hughes, S. J., Sabel, M. S. (Eds.), Operative Techniques in Surgery, 10th ed., vol. 2, part 3, section 1, pp. 485–490.

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