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During recent years laparoscopic cholecystectomy has dramatically increased, sometimes resulting in overtreatment. Aim of this work was to retrospectively analyze all laparoscopic cholecystectomies performed in a single center in order to find the percentage of patients whose surgical treatment may be explained with this general trend, and to speculate about the possible causes.


831 patients who underwent a laparoscopic cholecystectomy from 1999 to 2008 were retrospectively analyzed.


At discharge, 43.08% of patients were operated on because of at least one previous episode of biliary colic before the one at admission; 14.08% of patients presented with acute lithiasic cholecystitis; 14.68% were operated on because of an increase in bilirubin level; 1.56% were operated on because of a previous episode of jaundice with normal bilirubin at admission; 0.72% had gallbladder adenomas, 0.72% had cholangitis, 0.36% had biliodigestive fistula and one patient (0.12%) had acalculous cholecystitis. By excluding all these patients, 21.18% were operated on without indications.


The broadening of indications for laparoscopic cholecystectomy is undisputed and can be considered a consequence of new technologies that have been introduced, increased demand from patients, and the need for practice by inexperienced surgeons. If not prevented, this trend could continue indefinitely.


This article was originally published in BMC Surgery 2013, 13:17 doi:10.1186/1471-2482-13-17.

© 2013 Pulvirenti et al.; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.

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