Gallstones have led to pain and complications in humankind for millennia. Beginning in the 1880s, cholecystectomy, performed through a sizable abdominal incision, was the treatment of choice for symptomatic cholelithiasis. During the late 1980s pioneering surgeons first used laparoscopic techniques to remove the gallbladder. Although initially associated with a significantly increased rate of bile duct injury, the clinical advantages of laparoscopy compared to open operation became readily apparent, ushering in the "laparoscopic revolution." More recently, attempts at rendering cholecystectomy even less invasive-smaller or fewer incisions or eliminating abdominal incisions altogether-have been described, with limited clinical series reported. At the current time, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the gold standard for gallbladder removal, and any newer techniques must be demonstrated to result in superior outcomes for widespread adoption.
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