During laparoscopic cholecystectomy, gallbladder perforation with leakage of bile and/or gallstones into the abdominal cavity occurs frequently. When this occurs, our practice has been to lavage the operative field and retrieve as many gallstones as possible. We were concerned, however, that complications secondary to infection or adhesions might develop. To address this issue, our first 250 consecutive patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy were surveyed by postal questionnaire. In the 35-48 months (mean, 41 months) since operation, six patients (2.6%) died of nonbiliary causes. Of the 225 patients (90%) who completed the questionnaire, 73 (33%) suffered intraoperative gallbladder perforation. There were no late wound or intraabdominal infectious complications and no patient has required reoperation for intraabdominal sepsis or bowel obstruction. In the entire group, gastrointestinal symptoms were prevalent and included flatulence (40%), loose stools or fecal urgency (35%), belching (23%), and nausea (4%). The prevalence of these complaints was similar in patients with and without gallbladder perforation. Intraoperative gallbladder perforation during laparoscopic cholecystectomy, therefore, does not cause adverse long-term complications when accompanied by operative lavage and stone removal.
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