Does intraoperative gallbladder perforation influence the early outcome of laparoscopic cholecystectomy?

Nathaniel J. Soper*, Deanna L. Dunnegan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

135 Scopus citations


Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is rapidly becoming the preferred therapy for symptomatic cholelithiasis. It was our impression that the necessary traction exerted on the gallbladder during this procedure would frequently lead to intraoperative perforation with bile leak. We sought to determine prospectively the incidence of gallbladder perforation during laparoscopic cholecystectomy and to ascertain whether or not intraoperative bile leak resulted in overt complications. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy was performed success-fully on 250 patients between November 1989 and December 1990. Gallbladder perforation occurred in 80 patients (32%). Compared with those without a bile leak, there was a larger percentage of men (p < 0.05), and the average weight was greater (p < 0.01) in those developing a bile leak. Operating time was significantly longer in patients with gallbladder perforation (mean ± SEM, 104 ± 4 min) than in those without a bile leak (94 ± 3 min, p < 0.01), presumably because of the increased time spent irrigating the abdomen and retrieving gallstones. There was no difference in postoperative serum liver enzymes, amount or type of analgesia administered, interval to return to work or to full activity, or the development of postoperative infections. A wound infection requiring antibiotic therapy developed in only one patient who had not suffered a bile leak. The incidence of bile leak during the performance of laparoscopic cholecystectomy is therefore appreciable, occurring in approximately a third of our patients. Gallbladder perforation does not lead to any other adverse complications and should not cause the surgeon to convert to an open cholecystectomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)156-161
Number of pages6
JournalSurgical Laparoscopy and Endoscopy
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1991


  • Bile leak
  • Gallbladder perforation
  • Laparoscopic cholecystectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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